In an update to a story we’ve been following closely, a 71-year-old local from Mariposa was apprehended last Friday. Edward Fredrick Wackerman is suspected of having sparked a forest fire near Yosemite National Park in 2022 that led to the destruction of over 100 homes.
Wackerman is facing serious charges, including aggravated arson, arson resulting in significant bodily harm, and arson leading to the damage or demolition of occupied structures. What specific evidence or events led to Wackerman’s arrest, Cal Fire did not disclose in their statement.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Wackerman has legal representation or anyone to advocate on his behalf. The authorities believe he is the perpetrator behind the notorious Oak Fire that terrorized Mariposa County in the Sierra Nevada last July.
This fire wasn’t just a little brush fire that got out of hand. The Oak Fire was a beast, scorching through a whopping 19,244 acres of land, or about 30 square miles. Tragically, the fire destroyed 127 homes and 66 other structures, and it even injured three brave firefighters working on the frontlines.
During the fire’s peak, about 6,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes as the flames encroached on the Midpines community.
The Oak Fire was one of the many that plagued Northern California and several other states last year, making for a brutal wildfire season. As we gear up for this summer’s fire season, let this serve as a reminder of the dire consequences these fires can have on our beloved NorCal communities.