Pair arrested for starting wildfire

A father and son pair have been arrested for starting a wildfire, one that became California’s 15th worst of all times. The pair are believed to be the ones that made the 911 call to report the fire.

The pair who are being held on $1 million bail each, were arrested for starting the Caldor fire which burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and buildings. At the time, the South Lake Tahoe area had to be evacuated to protect the lives of those living there.

David Scott, 66, and his son, Travis Shane Smith 32, were arrested on Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of reckless arson that caused the destruction of inhabited properties and which resulted in multiple injuries.

Mark Reichel, attorney for David and Travis Smith, told KXTV that the father and son are not currently facing charges of intentionally setting the Caldor Fire, which ignited in August in the El Dorado National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains.

He said the pair arrested for starting the wildfire, were in the forest the day the fire started and were the first to alert authorities about the blaze, as well as alerting other campers in the area.

The Caldor Fire, the 15th largest wildfire in state history, started on Aug. 15 and quickly spread through El Dorado and Amador counties. The community of Grizzly Flats was wiped out in the process and a number of civilians and firefighters were injured in the blaze.

The conflagration caused the evaluation of South Lake Tahoe over the Labor Day weekend and nearly wiped out the small community of Grizzly Flats, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. The fire was contained on Oct. 21, according to Cal Fire.

Wildfires in California are a common occurrence and are often started on purpose, so the arrest of the pair for starting the wildfire through recklessness won’t come as a surprise to those affected.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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