The man suspected of setting the incredibly fast-growing King Fire has been arrested. Wayne Huntsman, 37-years old, was arrested for deliberately setting the Northern California fire that literally spread overnight in intensity and size, covering 70,000 acres. Because this fire continues to grow, there are thousands of homes now in jeopardy.
According to the Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office, Huntsman was booked in on the suspicion of arson. As such, he is being held on a $10 million bond. Investigators had interviewed several people and through those interviews were able to narrow down a suspect. Although the sheriff’s department has not provided any information as to how the fire was started, they did confirm the arrest of Huntsman was done in Placerville.
The King Fire is still burning out of control just east of Sacramento California in the Eldorado National Forest. In just one night, the fire grew from just under 28,000 acres to more than 71,000. In addition to the 2,000 homes at risk, there are about 1,500 buildings being threatened. As stated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, only 5% of the King Fire is contained.
Fortunately, no serious damage or injuries have been reported but with the size and power of the fire, this could always change. Things have become so bad that California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency. In a statement, Brown said this wild fire is extremely dangerous.
In response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency promised aid to cover up to 75% of the cost for California to fight the King Fire, which is just one of several fires in the state currently burning.
To battle the blade, more than 3,300 firefighters are working long hours. Per day, it costs close to $5 million to fight the King Fire. As to when the fire will be contained, Laurence Crabtree with the United States Forest Service confirmed there is no estimate at this time.