Fire officials arrest 29-year-old man for causing wildfire in northern California
John Ballenger, a 29-year-old has been reportedly arrested by Fire officials for ‘causing a fast-moving wildfire that has destroyed 10 homes and forced the evacuation of about 1,500 residents in Northern California,’ during the week.
On Wednesday, Cal Fire Butte County Chief Darren Read in a statement that ‘John Ballenger of the town of Oroville is accused of “recklessly” starting a campfire outside a designated area and allowing it to spread out of control’ and thereafter causing mayhem.
Ballenger, as reported, will be arraigned in a Butte County court on Friday, ‘officials have said. Reports from Witness informed that it took less than 24 hours after it began on Tuesday afternoon, for the so-called Ponderosa Fire to consumed about 3,150 acres (1,275 hectares) in Butte County, about 85 miles (135 km) north of Sacramento. And, according to the Cal Fire website, ‘besides homes, the fire has destroyed 20 outbuildings.
Also, affected by the flame is another 15 buildings damaged and 1,300 more are threatened. Photographs on social media showed the fire reducing houses to ash as smoke billowed into the sky and flames ripped through trees and vegetation. About 1,500 people have been ordered to evacuate the remote area. Reteurs in their feeds, noted that two shelters were opened for displaced residents.
Northern California faces a heat wave over the next few days with temperatures expected to top 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius), the National Weather Service said. According to available statistics, wildfires in the U.S. West have burnt more than 6.8 million acres (2.8 million hectares), about 50 percent more than during the corresponding 2016 period since the beginning of the year.
More than 45,000 fires have burnt this year across the region, 15 percent more than in 2016, the National Interagency Fire Center says.