Hunter's campfire sparked California blaze that scorched Yosemite
SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - A monster blaze that has blackened an area larger than Dallas in the rugged northern California forests in and around Yosemite National Park started from an illegal campfire a hunter built and let grow out of control, fire managers said on Thursday.
The precise origins of the so-called Rim Fire, which erupted nearly three weeks ago in the Stanislaus National Forest west of Yosemite, remained under investigation, and no arrests have been made, the US Forest Service said.
But the campfire that sparked the conflagration, now the fourth-largest California blaze on record, was built in defiance of Forest Service restrictions imposed at the time due to dangerously hot, dry conditions in the area, officials said.
Whether the hunter deemed to be the culprit will face criminal charges depends on a variety of factors, including the degree of carelessness or neglect determined by investigators, said Forest Service spokesman Ray Mooney.