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Man Named Smoke Accused of Starting Northern California Wildfire and Marijuana Cultivation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    This image provided by the Shasta County Sheriff's Department shows Freddie Alexander Smoke III who was arrested Saturday July 13, 2014, and accused of recklessly causing a fire and with marijuana cultivation, both felonies, according to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection. The wildfire has burned about 6 square miles of forested land in northern California.

    A 27-year-old man who was allegedly at an illegal marijuana plot is suspected of starting a wildfire that has burned about 6 square miles of forested land in northern California.

    Freddie Alexander Smoke III was arrested Saturday and accused of recklessly causing a fire and with marijuana cultivation, both felonies, according to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection.

    The agency said he was delivering material to the pot site in Shasta County when the exhaust from his truck ignited dry grass.

    The so-called Bully fire had burned through 4,400 acres, or nearly seven square miles, and was 15 percent contained, CalFire officials said Monday. Ten structures had been destroyed.

    More than 1,000 firefighters, aided by aircraft, are battling the blaze in hot, dry conditions.

    The wildfire had prompted evacuations and road closures, but CalFire said all residents have been allowed to return home and all roads have been open to them.

    Still, the fire is threatening 15 homes and about 50 other structures.

    In Central California, a wildfire has burned nearly 2 square miles (1,200 acres) of a remote wilderness area of the Sequoia National Forest and was just 5 percent contained as of Saturday night, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

    Officials said more than 600 personnel are involved in fighting the Nicolls fire, which broke out Friday afternoon south of Sequoia National Park.

    No homes were evacuated or in danger.

    The forest where the fire started is south of and separate from the Sequoia National Park east of Fresno, which is famous for its giant Sequoia trees.