The U.S. forest service announced today the cause of the colossal Yosemite rim fire that continues to burn in the Sierra Nevada region: a hunter's illegal campfire. (Not pot growers.)
Authorities said the unnamed hunter who accidentally lit the fire has been identified but not arrested, pending a further investigation.
The wildfire, the fourth largest in California history, has cost California in excess of $50 million dollars, with estimates continuing to climb despite the fire being mostly contained. California governor Jerry Brown had called a state of emergency after the inferno threatened the Bay Area's power infrastructure.
At one point, firefighters employed drones in order to aid the several thousand civil servants already battling the blaze on the ground.
In an August 23rd meeting, fire chief Todd McNeal said that they had confirmed the fire was human-caused. This sparked rumors that marijuana growers were to blame for the blaze. "It's highly suspected it might have been some sort of illicit grow, marijuana-grow type of thing," he said.
The media was quick to condemn cannabis cultivators with harsh tweets and incendiary remarks. That is, until someone realized a marijuana grow didn't fit the crime. "Most of these gardens, they need access, ... they need to be able to get in there ... and there are no roads in this area," A forest official said. "You need a water source. ... This fire started considerably above the river."
The U.S. Forest Service has made fighting the fire a top priority. Beyond the substantial damages to homes and businesses accrued by the fire, concerns have been raised over the fire spreading to Yosemite's massive sequoias that are among the oldest living things on the plant.
In case you were wondering, the fire will officially be completely contained on "Friday September 20th, 2013 [at] approx. 12:00 a.m." Unfortunately, how the forest service knows the specific time of day the fire will be contained...has not been disclosed.