Man arrested in 111-square-mile
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.