MURRIETA – A Temecula man pleaded guilty today, Feb. 14, to intentionally starting the Cranston Fire in the Idyllwild/Mountain Center area last July, according to John Hall, public information officer for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
Brandon McGlover, 33, entered guilty pleas to two counts of Penal Code section 451.5 (c), burning of a structure or forest land. In count one, which is the Cranston Fire, he admitted to an allegation of burning multiple structures. Seven other counts were dismissed as part of the
plea agreement between both sides.
Following the guilty pleas at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, McGlover was sentenced by Judge Kelly Hansen to 12 years and four months in state prison – the maximum sentence for the two counts and the admission of the allegation. Judge Hansen also ordered McGlover to pay restitution to all the victims.
McGlover was charged with starting nine separate fires on July 25, 2018, the largest being the Cranston Fire, which destroyed more than 13,000 acres.
After a thorough review of the evidence in the case, including testimony and evidence presented at McGlover’s preliminary hearing in November, the DA’s Office amended the charges filed against McGlover to best reflect the crimes he committed and the current status of the case.
The original charges filed against McGlover required proving to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he had a specific intent to burn structures, which the evidence in the case does not support.
The case, SWF1807512, was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fox of the DA’s Felony Prosecutions Unit.
The Cranston Fire was a wildfire that was started on July 25, 2018 by McGlover. The fire burned a total of 13,139 acres, before it was fully contained on August 10. The Cranston Fire impacted the communities of Idyllwild and Mountain Center, as well as recreational activities in the Lake Hemet area, San Bernardino National Forest and Mount San Jacinto State Park. Over 7,000 people were evacuated due to the Cranston Fire.