An arsonist accused of starting 11 wildfires yesterday in San Bernardino County in Southern California has been arrested. Ricky Russel Whipple of Fontana is suspected of starting the fires just before 8 a.m. January 15, 2018 at Glen Helen Regional Park near the Interstate 15/215 junction (map).
After igniting each fire, Mr. Whipple ran through a series a storm drain tunnels underneath the freeways to elude capture from the San Bernardino County Sheriff deputies. Sheriff’s aviation located Mr. Whipple as he walked through dense brush near Cajon Blvd. and Kenwood Avenue close to the last fire.
Deputies contacted Mr. Whipple, who was detained at the scene without incident. They found several items of evidence which connected Mr. Whipple to the crime of arson. The areas set on fire burned dry vegetation and caused a multi-jurisdictional response of fire crews from the San Bernardino County Fire Department, CAL FIRE, and the United States Forest Service. All of the fires were contained and extinguished. However, fire crews spent several hours mopping up.
Mr. Whipple was booked for aggravated arson and is being held on $250,000.00 bail. He is scheduled for court on January 17th.