A fire that jumped roads and threatened oil fields as it scorched over 200 acres in Southern California continued to burn Monday, one day after a homeless man was arrested on suspicion of sparking the blaze, officials said.
The fire, dubbed the Lincoln Fire, erupted in a riverbed in and near the Montebello Hills on Sunday afternoon, quickly spreading to South El Monte and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, authorities said. It had burned 225 acres and was 60 percent contained as of Monday morning.
A homeless man who authorities believe may have been cooking in the Rio Hondo riverbed near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir was arrested Sunday night, authorities said.
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Montebello police identified the man as 45-year-old Arturo Aguilar and said he was arrested on suspicion of arson and negligent fire. He was booked into the Montebello jail Sunday night in lieu of $35,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records.
It was not immediately clear whether Aguilar had an attorney.
The blaze temporarily shut down lanes of the eastbound 60 Freeway at San Gabriel Boulevard. Firefighters issued voluntary evacuations, which were lifted by Monday morning, for more than two dozen homes on Muscatel and Hazel avenues and Darlington Street in South San Gabriel, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Rosemead neighbors who were under voluntary evacuation Sunday night watched anxiously as the flames crept toward them over a hillside.
"Flames right up in here is what scared me because that's when they told us that we needed to evacuate because (the fire) was swinging around," Sandra Estrada said.
Crews were battling the blaze in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and wind gusts as high as 21 miles per hour. The fire burned in multiple areas and the command post, typically the safest place during a fire, was also threatened by flames.
Kate Larsen contributed to this report.