Lockheed Wildfire Cause Uncovered

Massive wildfire in Santa Cruz mountains traced to remote cabin.

By Rebecca Baron
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 7:22 AM PDT
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Lockheed Wildfire Cause Uncovered

AP

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Embers from a campfire outside a remote cabin in August 2009 sparked the largest wildfire in the Santa Cruz Mountains in years.

The Lockheed fire scorched 7,817 acres, and injured 10 firefighters in the 11 days it took to contain the blaze outside Bonny Doon at a cost of $26.6 million.

According to the Mercury News, in a report on the Lockheed Fire released through a public records request, fire officials honed in on a rock-ringed campfire off Bertoli Drive as the source of the wildfire.

The investigation took more than 2 1/2 years to complete. Cal Fire officials interviewed neighboring property owners, Lockheed officials, people who notified authorities of the fire and many others.

Despite the conclusion of the fire's origin, Cal Fire officials and prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to charge the property owner, Mario Daniel.

Daniel has repeatedly denied using the fire pit and there were no witnesses who could identify who started the fire.

Cal Fire officials have also decided against suing Daniel to recoup the $26.6 million spent fighting the fire because Daniel does not have assets to pay for it.

Thirteen outbuildings, three travel trailers and two vehicles were destroyed. More than 2,000 firefighters battled the blaze.

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