SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- A boy playing with matches started a fire in north Los Angeles County that consumed more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week, authorities said Tuesday.
The captain of a team of firefighters battling a blaze in Malibu, CA moves a hose to another location on October 22, 2007. [Agencies]
The boy, whose name and age were not released, was interviewed a day after the Buckweed Fire was sparked October 21, said sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht.
"He admitted to playing with matches and accidentally starting the fire," said Hecht said in a statement.
The boy was released to his parents, and the case will be be presented to the district attorney's office, Hecht said. She said she didn't know whether he was arrested or cited by detectives.
The 60-square-mile fire began in an area near Agua Dulce and quickly spread by fierce desert winds. It was among more than a dozen major wildfires that killed 14 people, destroyed some 2,100 homes, and blackened 809 square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border.
Authorities arrested five people for arson during that period, but none have been linked to any of the major blazes.
They said an arsonist also set a destructive wildfire in Orange County that blackened 28,500 acres and destroyed 16 homes. Investigators believe the blaze was deliberately set because they found two ignition points within a short distance -- a common sign of arson.
Authorities were seeking the driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup truck spotted in a canyon area around the time the fire broke out. They said they wanted to talk to the driver, but stopped short of calling the person a suspect.
Officials offered a $285,000 reward to anyone with information that will lead to an arrest and conviction.
Firefighters had surrounded all but four of the blazes late Tuesday, and the remaining ones were more than 90 percent contained.