Two fires that may have been intentionally set scorched a combined 15 acres of brush Wednesday near the northbound Orange (57) Freeway in Brea and spread across the Los Angeles County line to the Diamond Bar area, causing a traffic nightmare for commuters through the morning rush-hour period.
The blazes — about a half-mile apart — were reported about 2:20 a.m. in the area of Lambert and Tonner Canyon roads, east of the freeway.
Arson investigators were sent to the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“A witness reported seeing a man with a white scarf around his face wearing blue jeans and driving a black sedan,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “No additional information was provided.”
The non-injury fires charred 15 acres — with one blackening 10 acres and the other burning five acres, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. No structures were threatened.
By daybreak, the fires were listed as 70 percent contained, and by about 9 a.m. they were fully contained.
The California Highway Patrol closed all northbound lanes and the Lambert Road on-ramp as crews battled the fire. Northbound lanes also were closed on the Los Angeles County side at Brea Canyon Road.
By the time the fires were fully contained, some lanes were being reopened, but traffic remained snarled in the area during the morning commute, the CHP reported.
Anyone who may have been in the area about the time of the fires and who has information on the case was urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson/Explosives Detail at (323) 881-7500, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.
–City News Service