Mountain & Trail News

    Update: King Fire Suspect Charged with Arson

    The fire is the largest in the county in 20 years.

    Last Wednesday, Wayne Allen Huntsman was arrested for allegedly setting the King Fire in northern California’s El Dorado National Forest, which began September 13 and has blazed through more than 82,000 acres since. It was reported that the 37-year-old set the fire “willfully and maliciously,” and a bail of $10 million was set.

    The fire near Pollock Pines, California, where Huntsman is also a resident, became so dangerous that thousands of residents have had to be evacuated. While authorities did not immediately release the details of the crime, they recently came forward to the public with additional information.

    According to the complaint, Huntsman started the fire on Saturday and it soon spread to a canyon that was full of dry brush, growing even faster from there. After setting the fire, he allegedly broke into a nearby home and called 911.

    On Friday, he was charged with intentionally setting the fire on forest land, as well as a special allegation that states a firefighter, peace officer, and other emergency personnel suffered great bodily injury as a result of the offense.

    California Department of Forestry and Fire officials told the San Francisco Chronicle that at least 10 homes and 22 other structures have been demolished by the fire. There are more than 4,500 firefighters working to combat the flames, as well as fire engines and helicopters, which comes at a cost of $5 million per day. As of Sunday, the fire was 10 percent contained.

    Image by nathanphoto/iStock

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