Tags: california | arson | arrest | wildfire

California Arson: Man Arrested, Accused of Setting Huge Wildfire

Image: California Arson: Man Arrested, Accused of Setting Huge Wildfire
Fire burns near road signage near Uncle Tom's Cabin in El Dorado County, California. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/MCT/Landov)  

By    |   Friday, 19 Sep 2014 04:51 PM

A California man is facing felony arson charges, accused of setting a wildfire that has burned through 119 square miles of land near Sacramento.

Wayne Allen Huntsman, who has an extensive criminal history, was being held on $10 million bail and faces charges of forest-land arson with a “special allegation of arson with aggravating factors because the blaze ... put a dozen firefighters in serious danger,” The Associated Press reported.

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All of the firefighters escaped safely.

"There are a lot of firefighters saying that this fire is producing fire conditions unlike anything that they have ever seen," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Joe Tyler said at a community meeting Thursday, the AP reported. "It's creating its own weather overhead. Just the tinder-dry fuel conditions are igniting fuels every time — brush or timber — every time an ember drops on the ground."

The King fire — the one Huntsman allegedly set — is the largest of nine wildfires challenging California firefighters right now. The fire jumped from 28,000 acres burned to 73,000 burned in less than one day on Thursday, The Weather Channel said. About 12,000 homes have been threatened by the fire, and mandatory evacuations are in place.

Historic drought conditions are aggravating the California fires, and The Weather Channel said firefighters will see no relief over the weekend as predictions continue for hot, dry weather.

The AP quoted Huntsman’s sister as saying he would never start a fire on purpose and that he wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. But police records show that Huntsman’s long criminal history, including arrests and convictions for auto theft and assault with a deadly weapon, which earned him three years in San Quentin State Prison.

A warrant was also out for his arrest in connection to a 2013 arrest for resisting or obstructing a public officer.

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A California man is facing felony arson charges, accused of setting a wildfire that has burned through 119 square miles of land near Sacramento.
california, arson, arrest, wildfire
326
2014-51-19
Friday, 19 Sep 2014 04:51 PM
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