California’s Massive Rim Fire May Have Been Sparked By An Illegal Marijuana Operation

“We know it’s human caused. There was no lightning in the area,” a fire chief said. The blaze near Yosemite National Park has torched more than 213,000 acres — the state’s fifth largest ever recorded.

Todd McNeal, chief of Northern California’s Twain Harte Fire Department said in a recent community meeting he didn’t know the exact cause of the Rim Fire but it was “highly suspect that there might have been some sort of illicit grove, a marijuana-grow-type thing.”

McNeal has 23 years of experience at the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and other agencies in the Sierra Nevada.

McNeal’s comments on the fire’s possible cause can be seen at the 6-minute mark of this YouTube video.

2. Officially, “the cause is still under investigation” a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service said.

AP

3. The Rim Fire has destroyed 111 structures, including 11 homes, and poses a threat to ancient giant sequoias.

AP

4. The fire is 35% contained, officials said Friday.

U.S. Forest Service / Reuters
U.S. Forest Service / Reuters

6. It’s so large it can be spotted from space.

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg

7. Fire officials are estimating full containment on the blaze by Sept. 20.

AP

8. Smoke from the Rim Fire is affecting air quality thousands of miles away from the source.

9. A stunning time-lapse from Yosemite captured the fire’s rapid growth from August 22–27, 2013.

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