A father and son have been arrested on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire which burned more than 220,00 acres, including the destruction of more than 1,000 structures near Lake Tahoe.
David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, have been arrested by the El Dorado Sheriff’s Department for “reckless arson, which caused inhabited properties to burn and resulted in great bodily injury to multiple victims.” The accused were arrested on Ramey warrants, which are issued before criminal charges are filed. The district attorney has yet to reveal how officials believe the fire was started.
After the men had their homes and phones searched, they hired attorney Mark Reichel, who said the men called 911 and warned campers in the El Dorado National Forest after seeing the flames near the onset of the fire.
“My clients and I have literally just sat and waited for this day to come,” Reichel said to the New York Times. “As we sit here tonight, we have no idea what the prosecution’s theory is on how the fire started.”
â€œTheyâ€™re from the area,â€ he said. â€œThey love the forest and nature.â€
The Caldor Fire burned 221,835 acres over a two month span, blazing through the El Dorado National Forest and eventually into the Tahoe Basin. 1,003 structures were burned in the fire, including complete devastation in Grizzly Flats and severe damage at Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort.