The Detwiler fire in Mariposa County was caused by gunfire, say authorities with California’s Department of Forestry and Fire. The blaze, which began in mid-July, has burned nearly 82,000 acres and destroyed more than five dozen homes.
Cal Fire released a statement Friday on their Facebook page that says, in part:
“The discharge of firearms, on public lands, is responsible for sparking the fire. The specific circumstances surrounding the cause remain under investigation.”
A $2,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the fire. It is now nearly completely contained, although at great cost to the state of California. The Merced Sun-Star reports that “a total of 1,635 fire personnel, 67 engines, 45 fire crews, two helicopters, six dozers and 31 water tenders responded to the fire.” Around 5,000 people were evacuated at the worst points in the wildfire.
While many pro-gun activists argue to this day that gunfire is not capable of setting fires, researchers proved conclusively four years ago this month that discharge from rifles, at least, can do just that. In a report published in August of 2013, US Forest Service researchers in Fort Collins, Colorado showed that in addition to stray muzzle flash, even bullet fragments can spark nearby dry plants and grass.
Cal Fire provided the Crime Stoppers Hotline number for anyone with information: (559) 498-7867.
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