Morgan fire is the latest forest blaze to be blamed on humans

Two major California wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres in forests popular with tourists in recent months have been attributed to humans.

Officials on Thursday said the Morgan fire, which has charred more than 3,100 acres in and around Mt. Diablo State Park in the Bay Area, was caused by target shooting. And last week, officials blamed the massive Rim fire burning in and around Yosemite National Park on a hunter who lost control of his campfire.

In both cases, officials declined to release many details on the incidents, citing ongoing investigations.

At the height of the Morgan fire, which broke out Sunday afternoon near Clayton in Contra Costa County, more than 100 homes and power lines were threatened. The blaze was 95% contained on Friday, and more than 450 personnel were assigned to the incident, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Crews on Thursday afternoon were strengthening containment lines and mopping up hot spots inside the lines.

The much larger Rim fire, now the third largest in state history, remained listed as 80% contained Friday after having burned 255,858 acres, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

The blaze, which erupted in the Stanislaus National Forest north of the Tuolumne River on Aug. 17, has cost more than $100 million to fight. More than 2,500 personnel were assigned to the blaze, which officials described as “creeping and smoldering” overnight Thursday.

The campfire that started the blaze “got out of control,” although how it happened remained unclear, said Forest Service spokesman Ray Mooney.

It is unclear what consequences, if any, the hunter will face, Mooney told The Times last week. The campfire near Yosemite last month was illegal because of the time of year.

Authorities released no details about the hunter, nor was any information released on the target shooters allegedly responsible for the Morgan fire.


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