Apply named Freddie Alexander Smoke III, 27, has been arrested for negligence in starting a wildfire that burned more than 3,000 acres of forest in Shasta County, (northern) California while delivering supplies to an illegal marijuana patch.
According to Smoke, exhaust from his truck ignited dry grass setting off what has become known as the “Bully Fire,” which quickly consumed more than 4-1/2 square acres. So far, over 1,000 firefighters have been battling the blaze, which (as of last night) is only 10% contained. While fire officials originally ordered local residents to evacuate the area, all residents have reportedly been allowed to return to their homes, despite the fact that “15 homes and 50 other structures remain threatened. Roads that were previously closed have also been reopened.
Meanwhile, a separate wildfire has burned nearly 1,200 acres of a remote wilderness area south of the Sequoia National Forest (east of Fresno) in Central California since Friday. As of last night, only 5% of that blaze, dubbed the “Nicolls Fire,” has been contained. Six hundred firefighters are battling that blaze. However, no homes were in danger there and no evacuations have been ordered thus far.
California’s fire season has been particularly severe this year, thanks to one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. In May a wildfire just west of Yosemite National Park in central California raged out of control when it ignited in some dry brush officials said. In fact, officials from Cal Fire (which as been working with the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and dozens of local fire agencies to fight the conflagrations) reported that they have already responded to more than 1,500 since January 1st, nearly double its five-year average over the same period, and has had to bring in more fire fighting equipment and hire additional seasonal firefighters throughout the state earlier than expected.
equipment and hire additional seasonal firefighters throughout the state earlier than expected.