California fire officials have cited a 46-year-old Yolo County man for allegedly starting a large blaze that has scorched 90,000 acres in Yolo and Napa counties after igniting along a rural highway on June 30.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Wednesday the blaze was caused by an improperly installed electric livestock fence on private property, and that the responsible party had been cited under the state’s public resources code for “burning the lands of another.”
A spokesman for the Yolo County district attorney’s office said Cal Fire had cited Anthony Edward Darosa, of Woodland.
Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Jonathan Raven said his office was reviewing a report from Cal Fire on the incident and will determine whether to file charges against Darosa.
“We can charge nothing, [or] charge the misdemeanor that Cal Fire recommends, or charge other crimes which could include the crime recommended by Cal Fire,” Raven said in an email.
Conviction of criminal charges could result in no jail time, or up to a year in custody, but Darosa would probably be placed on probation and have to pay restitution if found guilty, Raven said.
“Next step is for us to determine whether or not to file charges,” he said.
The County fire began June 30 in the rural community of Guinda, about 45 miles northwest of Sacramento.
Winds pushed the flames west into Lake and Napa counties, and authorities significantly increased the area under mandatory evacuations to include a sparsely populated area of rugged terrain from Lake Berryessa to California 89, about 25 miles away.
The blaze burned in tall grass, brush and dense oak.
Satellite imagery from the National Weather Service and photos posted on social media showed winds carrying the smoke 75 miles into the Bay Area and blanketing the region in an eerie yellow haze in the first days of the fire.
About 20 structures have been destroyed by the fire, according to Cal Fire. As of Wednesday, the fire was 86% contained.