A Tuolumne County official said this week that federal prosecutors have "privately declared" their intention to charge a hunter who earlier this year sparked the Rim fire, the third-largest in state history.
Tuolumne County District Atty. Michael Knowles said federal authorities long ago completed their investigation into the cause, origin and who was responsible for the blaze, which started on Aug. 17 and burned 402 square miles across the Yosemite and Stanislaus National forests.
“Federal prosecutors have privately declared an intention to prosecute,” Knowles said in a statement.
However, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the eastern California district declined to comment. No potential charges were specified.
The fire destroyed 11 homes, injured 10 people and cost more than $127 million to fight.
Officials have declined to identify the hunter, who apparently lost control of his campfire, Tuolumne County officials said in September.
Since the blaze was extinguished, the region has tried to recover. The blaze cut off access to Yosemite National Park from two sides and scorched massive swaths of forest that officials fear could taint a regional water supply.
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