A man has been arrested for starting the enormous King fire, which has destroyed 70,000 acres of forest and catalyzed a huge evacuation of thousands of people.
Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was booked on suspicion of arson, according to the Sacramento Bee. A news conference was convened in Camino Thursday morning in Camino with officials including Calfire Director Ken Pimlott, members of the U.S. Forest Service officials and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson and Sheriff John D’Agostini. The fire began on Saturday and is only 5% contained.
El Dorado County Supervisor Ron Briggs said, “If the man is guilty I hope he goes to jail for a long time.” The blaze, which began Saturday, is just 5 percent contained.
On Wednesday night, the fire jumped toward the northwest; the villages of Quintette and Volcanoville had to be evacuated. 2,000 single-family residences are now under siege; another 1,500 structures are in the path of the fire.
3,600 firefighting personnel are battling the blaze, using fire engines, helicopters, airplanes, bulldozers and water tenders. Highway 50 is closed; the California Highway Patrol had to close a part of the highway from Sly Park Road to Ice House Road.
There may be a break in the weather, helping those fighting the fire; El Dorado County may experience thunderstorms on Thursday.
Image: El Dorado County via San Francisco Chronicle