Authorities arrest man in deadly Klamathon fire in Siskiyou County

A firefighter prepares to go back out on the fire line at the Klamathon fire near Hornbrook, Calif., on July 5.
(Greg Barnette / Redding Record Searchlight)

Authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of starting the deadly Klamathon fire in Siskiyou County last month, officials said. The blaze claimed a life, injured three firefighters and destroyed dozens of homes.

John Colin Eagle Skoda was booked into jail Thursday after investigators concluded that he caused the 38,000-acre blaze by recklessly burning debris, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze began July 5 and burned down 35 homes and 48 other structures near the Oregon border. The fire jumped the Klamath River, forcing evacuations in Hornbrook, Calif., and several other communities as hundreds of firefighters battled flames. The fire temporarily closed Interstate 5.

Skoda, of San Francisco, was booked on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and fire-related charges. Jail records don’t indicate if he is represented by an attorney.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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