A Lompoc man faces five felony charges related to starting three fires and attempting to start another Sunday in Lompoc, where more than 22 acres of vegetation and chaparral burned.
Claudio Santiago Nava, 31, was arrested on Sunday after what reportedly were multiple fires near the Allan Hancock College Lompoc Valley Center and Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex.
The brush fire was first reported around 10:50 a.m. south of Allan Hancock College, according to the Lompoc City Fire Department.
At 11:24 a.m., the Fire Department requested assistance from the Lompoc Police Department near the old drive-in theater on North H Street since they believed they were with the possible suspect of the fire.
“Once officers arrived, they determined the subject was in fact related to the fire and placed him under arrest,” police said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Highway 1 lanes in the area were temporarily closed during the firefighting response.
In addition to Lompoc firefighters, personnel from the Santa Barbara County and Vandenberg fire departments also assisted in quelling the blaze.
In total, the fires blackened 22.3 acres with another one-half acre charred by a spot fire.
In addition to three counts of arson for separate fires on Hancock Road, the criminal complaint includes an attempt to start a fire near Ken Adam Park, possession of an incendiary device and misdemeanor petty theft for a June 13 incident.
He also faces a couple of special allegation or sentencing enhancements.
Santiago Nava pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment hearing this week.
The case is scheduled to return to court Wednesday when the attorneys and the judge will determine whether the preliminary hearing will occur as planned next Thursday.