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Rim Fire Started by Illegal Campfire

The cause of the fourth worst wildfire in California has been traced to a campfire started by a hunter.

Photo of Rim Fire firefight courtesy of SSgt Ed Drew of the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing.
Photo of Rim Fire firefight courtesy of SSgt Ed Drew of the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing.
By Bay City News Service

The massive Rim Fire, now the fourth-largest wildfire in California's history, was sparked by a hunter's illegal fire, U.S. Forest Service officials said Thursday.

The fire began on Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest near the Jawbone Ridge area and has burned 237,341 acres. It is 80 percent contained.


Four Palo Alto Firefighters participated in a Santa Clara County Fire strike team deployed to help contain the fire and protect structures.

The Forest Service announced that personnel from its Law Enforcement and Investigations division and the Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office have determined that the blaze started after the hunter "allowed an illegal fire to escape." 

There is no indication that the fire is related to a marijuana-growing operation, as had been rumored, according to the Forest Service. 

The hunter's name has not yet been released. 

The Rim Fire destroyed the city of Berkeley's Tuolumne Family Camp, located off of state Highway 120 west of the entrance to Yosemite National Park. 

As of Thursday morning, 1,900 homes were still threatened and evacuations were in effect, according to Cal Fire.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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