Girl, 13, accused of setting massive wildfire ordered to stand trial

A 13-year-old girl accused of setting a San Marcos-area wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes and burned 2,000 acres has been found competent to stand trial.

A 13-year-old girl was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges of setting the fire that burned 2,000 acres and destroyed or damaged more than 40 structures in the San Marcos area of northern San Diego County earlier this year.

Superior Court Judge Rod Shelton, presiding in Juvenile Court, ordered the trial after the defendant’s attorney said a mental evaluation had found her competent to stand trial.

The girl, whose name has not been made public, faces four felonies and one misdemeanor related to the so-called Cocos fire.

The fire raged from May 14 to May 22. At its height, more than 500 firefighters battled the blaze, which destroyed structures in San Marcos, Escondido and at the Harmony Grove religious retreat.


Of the dozen fires that struck the northern stretch of San Diego County in mid-May, only the Cocos fire has been called arson by investigators. The blaze’s name comes from a street where the fire was initially spotted.

Of the other fires, the one near Rancho Bernardo was determined to have been caused by a construction accident. The others remain under investigation.

Follow Tony Perry on Twitter: @LATsandiego

Get our Essential California newsletter