Man ar­rested in 111-square-mile

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

POL­LOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) — Au­thor­i­ties say they have ar­rested a man on sus­pi­cion of ar­son in a fast-grow­ing Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire that has driven nearly 2,800 peo­ple from their homes.

The ar­rest of 37-year-old Wayne Allen Hunts­man was an­nounced Thurs­day.

The 111-square-mile fire 60 miles east of Sacra­mento is threat­en­ing about 12,000 homes around the town of Pol­lock Pines. It has been fu­eled by gusty winds, along with tim­ber and grass that is bone dry be­cause of the state’s on­go­ing drought.

The fire more than dou­bled in size be­tween Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon and Thurs­day morn­ing. It is only 5 per­cent con­tained.

An out-of-con­trol wild­fire that has forced nearly 2,800 peo­ple from their homes in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia showed ex­plo­sive growth, con­sum­ing tens of thou­sands of ad­di­tional acres, fire of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The fire east of Sacra­mento had burned through 111 square miles, up from 44 square miles Wed­nes­day, as winds surged to 25 mph and con­tin­ued to fuel its rapid ex­pan­sion, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Forestry and Fire Pro­tec­tion. It was 5 per­cent con­tained.

“This fire is def­i­nitely eye-open­ing,” Cal Fire spokes­woman Alyssa Smith said.

The blaze, which be­gan Satur­day, has been fu­eled by heavy tim­ber and grass that is ex­tremely dry be­cause of Cal­i­for­nia’s third straight year of drought.

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