The wildfire that has consumed 219,277 acres of Yosemite National Park was likely touched off by a campfire at an illegal marijuana grow, deep inside the park, according to a local fire official.
Todd McNeal, chief of the Twain Harte Fire Department, was quoted by the San Jose Mercury News as saying it was "highly suspect that there might have been some sort of illicit grove, a marijuana-grow-type thing."
"We know it's human caused. There was no lightning in the area," he continued.
The fire which has been burning since Aug. 17, was only about 32 percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
To date, 11 homes and 97 other structures have been destroyed in the blaze.
For several years, the Forest Service has reported numerous accounts of encounters with heavily armed drug dealers approaching firefighters, as the cartels not only smuggle drugs into this country, but now have major growing operations inside many of of National Forests.
In fact, our public lands have become so dangerous that in 2007, firefighters battling wildfires in the Coronado National Forest had to be accompanied by police officers.
Several major fires in recent years have been attributed to the cartels...
-In 2011, the 'Horseshoe 2 fire' in the Coronado National Forest destroyed more than 100,000 acres of Arizona wilderness.
-In 2010, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that the cost of fighting the 'Cowboy fire,' near San Diego County had reached $2,325,537. It was determined that the blaze was started by two illegal aliens.
-In 2009, the Forest Service held a press conference and stated that the wildfire in the Los Padres National Forest was started by a "cooking fire in a marijuana drug trafficking operation ... believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization. Although the La Brea Fire started more than one week ago, there is evidence that the unburned marijuana garden area has been occupied within the last several days."
The fire destroyed 90,000 acres of woodlands.