YREKA, Calif. (AP) — Northern California authorities have arrested a man they say started a deadly wildfire last month.
California’s fire agency said Thursday that it arrested 32-year-old John Colin Eagle Skoda after investigators concluded that a debris fire he started turned into a 60-square-mile blaze that killed one person and destroyed 35 homes.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Suzi Brady said Skoda quickly lost control of the unpermitted debris fire he started in Siskiyou County about 300 miles (485 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
The July 5 wildfire also forced thousands of residents to evacuate and temporarily shut down Interstate 5, a major north-south corridor.
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.