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Arson suspect arrested in 10 California wildland fires

Authorities say a man set 10 wildland fires that burned about 40 acres along the shore of a huge Southern California reservoir
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Posted at 12:15 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 15:15:07-05

HEMET, Calif. (AP) — A man allegedly set 10 wildland fires that burned about 40 acres along the shore of a huge Southern California reservoir, authorities said Tuesday.

Officials arrested Noel Lopez Mejia on Thursday on suspicion of arson between Sept. 29 and Nov. 26 at Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a news release.

Lopez Mejia allegedly hiked from the back of a residential property into the reservoir's foothills, which are located within a reserve. The fires endangered protected and sensitive species, the release stated.

It was not immediately clear if Lopez Mejia had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The county sheriff's jail website shows Lopez Mejia has a court appearance scheduled for Friday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.