One San Jose youth was arrested and charged with felony arson following a grass fire at Belgatos Park Monday afternoon, according to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police.
About three acres of vegetation burned as a result of the fire, said Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Sgt. Kerry Harris.
The youth, 14, is said to have used a lighter to set the fire at approximately 3 p.m., Harris said.
No injuries were reported and the two-alarm blaze was contained with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, Los Gatos Parks and Public Works, San Jose Water, Pacific Gas & Electric and the LGMSPD.
According to the incident summary issued by county fire officials, the blaze began as a slow-moving 1.5-acre grass fire burning up the hill between the playground and Bacigalupi Drive.
Water drops were quickly made to the burning area and units were assigned to assess any structure threat in the Santa Rosa Avenue area.
A wet line was established around the fire and the operation. The scene was cleared at 6:40 p.m., according to the report.
"We had numerous trucks, engines, personnel, Cal Fire airplanes and helicopters [respond]," Harris said.
Police received information that the three boys were seen in the area where the fire started, Harris said.
Based on interviews with area residents and witnesses the suspect was identified, Harris explained.
Officers and a county fire investigator went to a residence and contacted the teens, all age 14, and during conversations with the boys, the suspect admitted to lighting the fire on the hillside on the grass using a lighter.
When the grass ignited and got out of control, the young men tried to extinguish it, but were unsuccessful and fled the scene.
The suspect was released to his parents and the other two teens were not cited, Harris said.
"This fire could have had serious consequences. There are many homes on the hillside and the ridge line. If the temperature had been higher, or if the winds had been blowing in the wrong direction, we could be speaking loss of life," he said.
Harris also said those fighting the blaze were fortunate that the Los Gatos PPW Department had just mowed the hillside bringing down the tall grass. "This could have been a much more serious and tragic situation," he said.
Los Gatos resident Jennifer Jackson, who provided a photo of the smoke created by the fire, expressed her gratitude to the spotter plane and helicopter teams that kept the inferno under control.
"At one point, we could see 40-foot flames very near some homes on Bacigalupi Drive. Teenage pranks gone very wrong," she wrote in a caption she submitted with her courtesy pic.