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On Friday, May 14, 2021, at 10:02 p.m., a brush fire occurred in the 1800 block of Michael Lane in the City of Los Angeles. When the first responding engines from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) arrived, crews encountered multiple, separate, slow-moving fires in steep and remote terrain with thick understory dry and dead vegetation.

Immediately, the Department launched an all-out attack – deploying dozens of engines, aircraft, bulldozers, water tenders, and more than 100 firefighters.

Just after midnight, LAFD arson investigators were dispatched to the scene to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Due to the inaccessible terrain and darkness, investigators gathered preliminary information and returned the next day.

On Saturday morning, LAFD helicopter pilots observed an adult male moving around in the brush along a steep hillside near the fire. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) air patrol was dispatched to monitor the individual. Officers from the West Los Angeles Community Police Station kept watch on the ground while the Air Support Division provided eyes in the sky. During an aerial observation, the Tactical Flight Officer witnessed the individual ignite multiple additional fires.

Arson investigators from LAFD requested the assistance of specialized deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Services Detail to locate and apprehend the alleged suspect within the rugged terrain. Deputies were lowered into the brush to begin their search. Because the fires were growing rapidly, deputies were forced to retreat.

At 10:56 a.m. on Sunday, May 16th, the individual emerged from the brush in the 1200 block of Palisades Drive.

A private security officer in the area recognized the person as a possible suspect and notified LAPD and LAFD. Police officers arrived and detained the suspect only 36 hours after the fire began. The suspect was transported to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

After interviews from eyewitnesses, firefighters, and police officers, as well as hours of analyzing burn patterns and documenting the fire scene, arson investigators determined that the fire was incendiary in violation of section 451(c) of the California Penal Code Arson of Forest Land.

This morning, arson investigators are presenting this case to the Target Crimes Division Arson & Explosives Section of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for felony filing considerations.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas is grateful to our public safety partners and attentive community members for working quickly in identifying and apprehending the alleged suspect.


Arrestee: Rodriguez Flores, Ramon*

DOB: December 30, 1972

Residence: Transient

Court Case: Will be presented to LA County DA’s Office

Bail: TBD by DA’s Office

Charge: TBD by DA’s Office

Date of Inc.: May 14, 2021

LAFD Inc.: 1448

Time: 2202 hours

*Arrestee has multiple name variations in law enforcement database.

In the background of a news report, a lady wipes out on the bike path when she tries film herself riding a bike with no hands.
LAPD officials Monday identified the suspect as Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, who has been arrested on suspicion of arson. He is being held on more than $100,000 bail.

Fire and public officials provide an update on the incident status regarding evacuations (no change), cause investigation (arrest made) and fire activity.


- There are NO changes to the existing Mandatory Evacuation orders in the County of Los Angeles or the Evacuation Warning in the City of Los Angeles .

- No structures have been damaged. One firefighter sustained a minor injury. There are no reported injuries to any civilians.

- The fire remains active and all residents are asked to please adhere to the directions of officials. NO hikers or observers are to be in the area of operations.

- While water dropping helicopters continue their work, the fixed wing tankers are not able to fly until the cloud cover lifts to 4,000'

- A suspect was detained, questioned and then arrested (adult male) by LAFD Arson Investigators. LAPD officials Monday identified the suspect as Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, who has been arrested on suspicion of arson. He is being held on more than $100,000 bail

The first suspect was that known and previously convicted arsonist Devin Hilton (the homeless guy everyone sees up and down PCH painted all red, who is always setting fires in the area), but he was found, questioned, and released due to there not being any "evidence" that he set the fire.

So now they rounded up another guy they believe may be the one.

From the LAFD:

"During the course of the investigation, LAFD Arson Investigators and LAPD have aggressively tracked down any and all potential leads. We did have one individual who was detained and released. However, we now have a 2nd individual that is being questioned. The active investigation into the cause of the Palisades fire continues.; West Bureau; Council District 11; Margaret Stewart."

And yes, the LAPD and LAFD let a known arsonist, who has been busted lighting several fires before, go free to roam a fire-prone hillside.

According to Surfline" "Good shot of SSW swell starts to ease Mon, along with smaller NW swell, fresh mix of SSW/S and NW swell fills in mid week."

Monday, May 17th: 3-4’+ surf from easing SSW swell — OC standouts 4-6′. Small NW swell drops. Mainly light AM onshores.
Onshore, SW-W winds on the light side for most areas in the morning, pick up to a light+/moderate sea breeze for the afternoon. The onshores are due to ease in the evening. Slow fading but still fun run SSW swell (210-190) shows most size in the morning, with waist-chest-shoulder-high waves at good exposures. Look for a gradual fade in the southerly surf during the afternoon. Lingering little NW swell is mainly under waist high, but still helps out the shape at best combo beachbreaks

Tuesday, May 18th: 3-4′ waves off new/rising SSW/S swell — 5’+ at top breaks. Smaller NW swell also up a notch. AM winds look light. .
Most areas have light/variable winds in the morning, while OC looks light+ southerly then. Light+ to locally more W-SW flow due in the afternoon, then easing onshores by the evening. Old SSW swell drops, as fresh round of long-period SSW/S swell fills in and takes over, showing strongest in the afternoon/evening. Well exposed areas are waist to shoulder high+ then. There will also be a rise in secondary NW swell. Surf from that smaller, short-period swell is mainly knee-waist high, but it will add some variety to the waves at combo beachbreaks.

Mike, aka German in Venice, vlogs about daily life in Venice Beach, and the nearby communities.

"Today, I went to Venice Beach to show you the updates for the homeless encampment. They had a new fire engine dedicated to Venice Beach. Fast response unit in case there’s a fire on the boardwalk. The basketball courts and handball courts are open again. They removed graffiti and planted new grass. They trying to clean up Venice Beach.They are still all the homeless encampments in Venice, hopefully soon they can move into housing."

If you would like to support German in Venice with some gas money or you want to buy him a coffee, you are welcome to donate to his paypal account:

"It looks like living right on the beach was very popular even back as far as 1929, when this photo was taken from the top of the Santa Monica palisades looking south toward the pier where we can see the rollercoaster and the La Monica Ballroom."

Photo via Martin Turnbull

Mark your calendars for May 22nd, 6:30pm-10pm. South Bay Boardriders Club
will be presenting the South Bay Surf Awards (Biggest Wave, Best Ride, Best Wipeout, Grom Hardest Charger), Brad Jacobson’s “Endless Winter”, and feature film “North Shore”

Also screening a compilation of Virtual Surf Series Contest video clips.

Bring food and beverages to enjoy the nite watching your favorite local surfers and more.

250 car maximum so purchase your tickets now ($40 per car) at

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