A Santa Barbara man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to setting a wildfire that forced hundreds of people from their homes.
Victor Angel Hernandez, 23, is accused of setting a hillside fire last week in Santa Barbara that triggered evacuations and damaged two homes, prosecutors said.
Aided by a decline in winds, firefighters finally stopped the fire after it had burned only a few acres.
Hernandez was taken into custody after fire investigators noticed someone scrambling down the hill and hiding in brush, a police statement said.
He entered pleas to setting or attempting to set several fires, including one last year. The charges include arson of an inhabited structure and also possessing and being under the influence of methamphetamine.