Paul Munoz Could Get Three Years for Allegedly Starting Coyote Hills Fire: Update

UPDATE, SEPT. 14, 5:30 A.M.: Paul Munoz is scheduled to be arraigned in Fullerton Friday on a felony count of unlawfully causing fire of a structure or forest as well as misdemeanor trespassing on private property, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), which adds such charges could send the 56-year-old to state prison for three years with a conviction. The Fullerton man is accused of trespassing and illegally being in the area of West Coyote Hills near Gilbert Street and Castlewood Drive in Fullerton, where he allegedly caused the fire in a transient encampment that spread to approximately 80 acres of land. The OCDA does not indicate how he caused the fire, however.

Firefighters climb hill to knock down this week's Coyote Hills brush fire.
Firefighters climb hill to knock down this week's Coyote Hills brush fire.
Photo by Brian Feinzimer/

ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 10, 2:13 P.M.: A 56-year-old Fullerton man has been arrested for allegedly starting the fire that broke out late Tuesday afternoon in Coyote Hills, where 80 acres in La Habra and Fullerton were scorched, 40 homes were evacuated and two firefighters were injured.

After investigators questioned Paul Munoz Wednesday morning, they booked him on suspicion of negligently causing a fire with injuries, according to Fullerton Police.

But cops add they do not know what exactly caused the so-called Risner fire, which is believed to have started about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at a homeless encampment in the Coyote Hills area near Gilbert Street and Castlewood Drive.

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The blaze burned both sides of Idaho Street near Risner Way and south of Imperial Highway.

Fullerton Police have not yet indicated what led investigators to Munoz.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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