A Mexican teen attempting to light fires was caught in the act by border patrol agents in the El Centro Sector on Saturday evening of Sept. 25.
The arsonist was identified as an 18-year-old male illegal border crosser from Mexico. He has been moved to the El Centro Sector Processing Center (CPC), the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) revealed in a news release.
There has been no information of the perpetrator’s motive, or whether he arrived in the U.S. with anyone else.
It was around 2:15 p.m. in the Jacumba Wilderness Region, El Centro Station Dispatch informed the border agents of a fire in the area.
When the agents arrived 35 minutes later, they caught a person in the act of lighting another fire in the vicinity. The agents tried to extinguish the second fire but could not control it.
It took the officials until 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning to completely extinguish the fire, with the help of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and firefighter forces.
“Our environment and natural places are national interests that all Americans hold dear,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino in a statement.
“I would like to thank our partners at Bureau of Land Management as they work tirelessly to conserve and protect the fragile Jacumba Mountains Wilderness area; the location where this undocumented migrant purposefully set fire to endangered Big Horn Sheep habitat,” the statement continued.
The CBP did not disclose if the teenager may be charged over his actions.
California has been suffering from consecutive wildfires this year alone. According to Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting organization, wildfires in California have scorched about two million acres so far this year.
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, a 30-year-old woman in Palo Alto, California, was arrested for suspicion of arson over the Fawn fire, which has charred more than 13 sq miles of heavy timber and destroyed more than a hundred houses, The Guardian reported Sunday.
While the woman, Ms. Alexandra Souverneva, denied the charges, officials said she was also suspected of attempting to light other fires in Shasta County and other areas across the state.