The wildfire has scorched 1,952 acres and is 95 percent contained, with full containment expected by Wednesday, officials said.
The three suspects -- Clifford Eugene Henry, Jr., 22, of Glendora; Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale; and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a transient last known to live in Los Angeles -- told investigators that the fire started when a gust of wind caught papers that the men had thrown on a campfire.
The blaze erupted Thursday morning in the Angeles National Forest near Glendora Mountain Road and Colby Way. Authorities say the men set the campfire when dry, blustery Santa Ana winds were creating an exteme fire danger and the forest had banned campfires except in certain areas. Flames destroyed five homes and damaged 17 other structures.
They were expected to appear in federal court on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.