A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection to four fires near Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton last week.
Osman Chaudhry was arrested on Thursday, July 11 after three small fires were extinguished along the San Lorenzo River in the park by Cal Fire and Felton Fire Protection District firefighters.
Cal Fire investigators determined the cause of the fires to be arson and caught Chaudhry after setting up checkpoints outside the park. He is suspected to be the originator of a fire the previous day inside the park.
Additionally, within the past six months, 10 separate fires have been suppressed within one and a half miles of Thursdays fires. Cal Fire officials have determined that all were human-caused ranging from campfire escapes to equipment fires to arson. Fire officials encourage the public to continue to report any suspicious fires. The Cal Fire arson hotline is 800-468-4408. Rewards of up to $10,000 are available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who are responsible for arson within state jurisdiction.
Fires abound in valley
Several fires with unknown causes were extinguished in the San Lorenzo Valley on Monday, July 15.
n A ¼-acre fire on Park Drive near Highlands Park in Ben Lomond was extinguished within two hours by fire crews from the area. Ben Lomond Fire Chief Stacie Brownlee said a neighbor called in the fire after seeing a plume of smoke from an uninhabited area off the road. The fire burned on steep terrain, and fire crews from Felton, Ben Lomond and Cal Fire “hit it hard and fast” to keep the blaze from spreading. No structures were harmed.
n Separately a 6-foot section of fencing caught fire and was quickly extinguished on Oak Avenue off of Highway 236 in Boulder Creek. The fire was reported at 5:37 p.m. The cause of the fire is unknown, according to Boulder Creek Fire Chief Kevin McClish.