A boy has been charged with arson after authorities say he started a blaze in central California that led to evacuations and cost more than $18 million to fight.
Madera County District Attorney David Linn tells The Fresno Bee that the boy ignited the nearly 9-square-mile blaze while playing with a lighter and burning pine needles on July 25.
The prosecutor says the boy, who’s under 14, also has been charged with unlawfully starting a fire. He’s being held in juvenile detention.
The fire was contained Saturday after spreading across drought-stricken foothills and evacuating two communities north of Fresno. The U.S. Forest Service estimates it cost $18.3 million to control.
A hearing is set Aug. 26 for the boy, whose attorney argued against the unusual step of detaining him.
SOURCE: The Associated Press