Man arrested on suspicion of starting brush fire in Carlsbad

CARLSBAD – Firefighters quickly tackled a brush fire in Carlsbad, and the California Highway Patrol arrested a man suspected of starting it, officials said Sunday.

Dispatchers received a report of a fire near El Camino Real south of state Route 78 just before 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Sgt. Gary Marshall of the Carlsbad Police Department.

Firefighters from the Carlsbad, Vista and Oceanside fire departments all responded to the area and extinguished the blaze, Marshall said.

CHP officers also were sent to the area due to a report of a man possibly responsible for starting the fire walking along Route 78.

Officers located the man — later identified as Ray Kersey, 39, of Oceanside — and took him into custody.

Kersey was positively identified by witnesses at the scene, Marshall said, and he was taken to the Vista Detention Facility, where he was held Sunday in lieu of $50,000 bail on suspicion of unlawfully causing a fire.

Kersey’s arraignment was set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.