One of the fires that swept southern California last week was started by a boy playing with matches. Authorities are deciding whether to charge the boy or not in the case. The fire he started burned 38,000 acres and 21 homes, so it is no small thing.
The boy, whose name and age were not released, admitted to sparking the fire on Oct. 21, Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht said Tuesday. Ferocious winds helped it quickly spread.
"He admitted to playing with matches and accidentally starting the fire," Hecht said in a statement.
The boy was released to his parents, and the case will be presented to the district attorney's office, Hecht said. It was not clear if he had been arrested or cited by detectives.
The fire began in an area near Agua Dulce and quickly spread. It was among 15 or so major wildfires that destroyed some 2,100 homes and blackened 809 square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border last week. Seven deaths were blamed directly on the fires, six evacuees died of natural causes and one person died of a fall.
Authorities arrested five people for arson during that period, but none have been linked to any of the major blazes.
All but four of the blazes are now fully contained. Firefighters on Wednesday continued to cut lines around the remaining fires and kept a close eye on the weather.