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Arson, prowling arrest made in 50-acre Ventura brush fire

Arson, prowling arrest made in 50-acre Ventura brush fire
A helicopter drops water on a 50-acre brush fire that broke out in Ventura on Monday. It was contained by nightfall. (KTLA-TV)

A man spotted running from a 50-acre brush fire in Ventura has been arrested on suspicion of setting the blaze, authorities said.

The man, identified Tuesday by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department as 24-year-old Garrett Smith, was arrested shortly after the fire broke out about 1:15 p.m. Monday.

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Sheriff's deputies responding to a report of someone near the origin of the fire detained Smith in the 7500 block of Foothill Road after they spotted him allegedly running away from the scene. After further investigation, Smith, an Oxnard resident, was arrested on suspicion of arson and prowling, the Sheriff's Department said.

More than 150 firefighters aided by water-dropping aircraft responded to the brush fire in the hills north of Harmon Canyon. The firefight prompted authorities to evacuate Ventura Missionary School and close Foothill between Kimball Road and Saticoy Avenue.

Southern California Edison power lines were also briefly threatened.

Firefighters were able to fully contain the blaze by nightfall and no injuries were reported, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Crews remained on the scene overnight into Tuesday to mop up the blaze and prevent any flare-ups.

Officials did not elaborate on how the fire was allegedly started.

Smith remained in custody in lieu of $60,000 bail.

For news as it happens in California, follow @JasonBretWells

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