Marijuana farmer suspected of starting Bully wildfire, officials say

Man suspected of starting Bully wildfire in Shasta County is marijuana farmer, officials say

A marijuana grower has been arrested on suspcion of starting the 4,000-acre Bully fire in Shasta County, officials said.

Freddie Alexander Smoke III, 37, of Sacramento was arrested Friday night on suspicion of recklessly causing a fire and marijuana cultivation, both felonies, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire is believed to have started Friday afternoon when Smoke drove a large truck off road and the exhaust system touched and ignited dry grass about 25 miles southwest of Redding, Cal Fire said. When arrested, Smoke was delivering soil additives to an illegal marijuana grow site, the department said. The Shasta County Marijuana Eradication Team seized more than 180 plants there.

The fire, which is 15% contained, has destroyed six structures and several vehicles, and it threatens 15 homes and 50 other structures, according to Cal Fire. Crews have been getting support from aircraft, including air tankers and helicopters, but steep terrain and hot, dry weather pose challenges, the department said. The blaze is expected to be fully contained Friday.

Smoke has been released on bail, according to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. A spokeswoman could not immediately say what bail had been set at or whether Smoke has been charged.

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