Southern California authorities ordered the evacuation of homes at the edge of the fast-moving wildfire burning in the dangerously dry foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. As hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the flames, Glendora police officers were going door to door ordering residents of the city of 50,000 to leave.
KMOV News reports that several schools in the area were closed on Thursday, including Goddard Middle School, which was being used as a fire department command post. Glendora Unified School District spokeswoman Michelle Hunter said 900 students attend the school, which is near the fire and within the evacuation area. Citrus College, located in the heart of Glendora, canceled classes for the day.
The Weather Channel reports that at least 200 acres of dry brush have burned in the area, located 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Some estimates are far higher, local news stations say as much as 1700 acres have burned in the wildfire.
Earlier, law enforcement officials in Glendora confirmed that three "persons of interest" were detained near Colby Trail, where the fire was believed to have started. However, Sheriff's Sgt. Raymond Roth stressed that they were not suspects.
The National Fire Incident Reporting System – or NFIRS – the world’s largest, national database of annual fire incident information housed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that five percent of the nation's fires are intentionally set.
A recent report by Scripps Howard News Service found that arson actually is much more common than is reported by the U.S. government. The year long study found that acts of arson in America go unreported to the federal government.
A news conference is expected to take place within the next hour to discuss the wildfire and provide information regarding the 3 people taken into custody.
Check back for updates as more information becomes available.