Kern River Valley

CHP makes traffic stop, arrest of wildfire suspect

CHP makes traffic stop, arrest of wildfire suspect

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — One man has been arrested and three others detained for allegedly sparking a wildfire near Highway 178 and the mouth of the Kern River Canyon.

The California Highway Patrol made the arrest after a traffic stop Tuesday at Highways 178 and 184, about 15 minutes from the blaze, which had grown to more than 430 acres by Wednesday.

Kern County Fire Department spokesman Corey Wilford said the men - names withheld but said to be in their 20s - were swimming when they shot a flare gun. That started the fire.

One man admitted to shooting the flare gun and starting the fire, Wilford said. The other three men have kept quiet. The motivation for shooting the flare gun remains unclear.

Some people witnessed the men allegedly starting the fire, made note of their car's license plate number and called authorities, aiding the capture, Wilford said.