Numerous law enforcement officers Tuesday were on patrol in Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown, following reports of post-fire looting and at least two arrests.

In one case, suspected looters were arrested Monday with burned-out safes in their vehicle, Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Tuesday.

Martin didn’t know further details about those arrests, and said others have been taken into custody on suspicion of looting as well. The sheriff said a press release to be issued later would include some of those details.

He said deputies are patrolling the fire area in general but are unable to stand guard at individual homes. He characterized Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake as most vulnerable because that’s where the most homes were left standing while residents remained evacuated, he said.

Martin said efforts were being made to get people back into their homes but that the ongoing fire, coupled with hazards caused by the blaze, made it currently impossible. He had no estimation on when the remaining evacuations would be lifted.

“The best defense against looting is to get people back in,” he said. “We will continue to look for looters.”

A heavy police presence Tuesday throughout the Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown region was evidence of the concern. Dozens of CHP, deputies and law enforcement officers from outside agencies patrolled in Hidden Valley Lake, where a roughly estimated 100 homes were lost and residents remained evacuated.

“It’s disgusting that some people would take advantage of others at a tragic time like this,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, it’s happening. We will continue our patrol for looters.”

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You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or or on Twitter@rossmannreport.