A forest fire that has been burning in and around Yosemite National Park was caused by an illegal fire set by a hunter, the U.S. Forest Service revealed on Thursday. According to the Los Angeles Times, no arrests have been made and the hunter's name is being withheld pending further investigation.
The U.S. Forest Service does not believe that the hunter was involved with illegal marijuana cultivation, which had been speculated as a possible cause of the wildfire. The Forest Service has not given details about how the illegal fire managed to get out of the hunter's control.
The Rim Fire has burned nearly 371 square miles, or 237, 341 acres, and has cost $81 million. It is one of the largest wildfires in California's history. The fire is currently 80% contained, but has has destroyed 111 structures, including 11 homes. At one point, the fire threatened to burn more than 4,000 structures.
Crews fighting the blaze do not expect to fully contain the fire until later in the month. The portion of the fire burning in Yosemite National Park is headed towards granite outcroppings which will act as a natural firebreak. Jerry Snyder of the U.S. Forest Service has told reporters that firefighters are beginning to start backfires in an effort to save wildlife habitat, historic buildings, and grazing land.