Man Accused of Arson in California's Raging Wildfire

37-year-old allegedly set fast-growing King Fire
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2014 2:36 PM CDT
Man Accused of Arson in California's Raging Wildfire
Crews battle the King Fire in El Dorado County near Fresh Pond, Calif.   (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randall Benton)

A 37-year-old man is being held on $10 million bail and accused of deliberately setting a California wildfire that is now rapidly growing in size. Authorities aren't saying what led them to Wayne Huntsman or how he allegedly started the fire, only that an investigator followed up on several leads, reports NBC Bay Area. The size of the King Fire jumped from 28,000 acres to 71,000 acres overnight, reports the Los Angeles Times, and Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for El Dorado County. More than 3,500 homes and buildings are now threatened by the fire, which is only about 5% contained.

About 2,800 people have been forced to evacuate, and USA Today explains that it's because the fire is burning through rough, canyon terrain: "Because leaving the area through twisty, steep roads takes far longer than the distances would suggest, firefighters are erring on the side of caution in removing residents from the fast-growing fire's path." Meanwhile, more than 3,000 firefighters are battling the fire at a cost of about $5 million a day, say forest officials. (Read more Wayne Hunstman stories.)

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