Illegal Drug Farm Started Calif. Wildfire: Officials

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2009 7:35 PM CDT
The La Brea Fire burns in the hills off about 25 miles East of Santa Maria, Calif., on Thursday Aug. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Phil Klein)
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(Newser) – An illegal marijuana farm is responsible for a blaze that has charred more than 75,000 acres in Santa Barbara County, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities say a Mexican drug organization started the fire in the cooking area of a pot farm, and those behind it are likely trying to escape on foot. Dubbed the La Brea fire, it has forced residents to flee from 234 homes since it started 8 days ago.