Fire chief: Marijuana growers may have started the Rim Fire (Updated)

"It doesn't really matter at this point," he added

Topics: California, Rim Fire, Yosemite, marijuana, Wildfire, ,

UPDATE 9/15/2013 10:30 ET: A federal forestry official said investigators found no evidence of an illegal grow at the fire’s place of origin.

The scope and speed of the Yosemite Rim Fire can be blamed on all sorts of human activity, from twentieth-century logging activity to climate change. The massive blaze is now 80 percent contained, but the nature of the spark that ignited it remains unknown.

In a video posted to Youtube last week, Chief Todd McNeal of the Twain Harte Fire Department speculated that humans were probably behind the fire’s origin, too, as no lightning occurred in the area. And, he added, officials “highly suspect” that the source was an illegal marijuana farm.

You Might Also Like

No officials will back up McNeal’s claim, the Associated Press reports, and he hasn’t provided any further explanation for why pot growers are suspected. It could just be that they’re usually the source of trouble in the region:

Illegal marijuana grows in national parks and forests have tormented federal land managers for years. Growers hike into remote canyons with poisons and irrigation lines and set up camp for months. The poisons kill wildlife and seep into streams and creeks. The growers leave tons of garbage behind.

Starting the fourth-largest wildfire in California’s history is just one more addition to their rap sheet.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 1

    Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 2

    Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 3

    Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 4

    Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

    Robert R.,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 5

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 6

    Taj Mahal, Agra, India

    Sergio Coelho,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 7

    Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 8

    Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 9

    Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 10

    Lost City of Petra, Jordan

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...