Father, Son Accused of Starting Caldor Fire

California wildfire burned for 67 days before it was contained
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 22, 2021 4:12 AM CDT
Updated Dec 9, 2021 1:48 AM CST
Fire That Threatened LakeTahoe Region Is Now 100% Contained
In this Aug. 30, 2021 photo, a firefighter monitors the Caldor Fire burning near homes in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) Update: A father and son stand accused of reckless arson in the California wildfire that threatened the storied Lake Tahoe region, the Sacramento Bee reports. After a monthslong investigation involving multiple search warrants, David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, were on Thursday taken into custody on a "Ramey warrant," which is issued before criminal charges are formally filed, the Mountain Democrat reports. Their attorney says they were simply in the area where the fire originated, called 911 multiple times to report it, and warned campers in the area of what was happening. Our original story from Oct. 22 follows:

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The 2-month-old California wildfire that threatened the Lake Tahoe resort region over the summer has been declared 100% contained, officials say. The Caldor Fire, which scorched more than 346 square miles of the Sierra Nevada and burned hundreds of homes, reached the milestone late Wednesday, according to a report from firefighting officials. Storms this week covered the western side of the fire in snow, rain fell on the eastern side, and stronger storms are expected throughout this week, the AP reports. The fire is expected to continue smoldering long into the winter, authorities say.

The fire was reported Aug. 14 and destroyed 1,000 structures including more than 770 homes as it marched toward the tourist destination community of South Lake Tahoe, which was spared. Many of the homes that were destroyed were in the small rustic forest community of Grizzly Flat. Elsewhere in California, in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades mountain ranges, the gigantic Dixie Fire was 97% contained as of late Wednesday. That wildfire became the second-largest in California's recorded history as it raged across 1,505 square miles destroying more than 1,300 structures including nearly 700 homes. It was formed by fires that broke out July 13 and July 22 and merged into one.

(Read more California wildfires stories.)

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