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LOCAL : Man Trapped in Canyon Rescued After Starting Fire to Attract Help

<i> From Times staff and wire service reports</i>

A man who spent five days in a desolate canyon northeast of Castaic after his off-road pickup truck became stuck was rescued this morning after he started a brush fire to attract help, authorities said.

The 50-year-old man was flown from Ruby Canyon north of Lake Hughes Road to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, where he was in fair condition and being treated for dehydration. His name and hometown were not released.

The fire was reported at 9 a.m. and was contained at five acres in about 90 minutes by U.S. Forestry and Los Angeles County firefighters. When the firefighters arrived at the scene, they found a man who said he had started it, County Fire Inspector Elvin Miranda said.

The man explained that he had taken his pickup into the canyon Sunday to do some recreational driving on dirt roads, Miranda said. But the pickup became stuck while going down a steep grade, and the man could not move it.

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Miranda said the man, who had water but no food, waited to be found until this morning, when he decided to set the fire. He apparently was not reported missing by anyone during the time he was in the canyon, Miranda said.

“He started a fire up there to get noticed, and he got noticed,” Miranda said.

Miranda said that because it was an emergency, it is unclear whether the man will be cited for starting the fire.


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