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Cause of California’s single largest wildfire is undetermined, hearth officers say

The Creek Fire, which burned greater than 379,000 acres within the mountains of Fresno and Madera counties for months final yr, destroyed greater than 850 constructions and spawned two firenados amid the state’s worst hearth season on report.
Lightning is probably the most possible reason for the wildfire, however authorities aren’t ruling out arson or “smoking activities,” hearth investigators mentioned in a information launch. The undetermined standing is “not uncommon given the complexities involved,” officers mentioned in a information launch.

Officials excluded many potential causes similar to gear use, escaped campfire, actions by kids and burning particles. Despite some hypothesis, officers additionally mentioned there have been “no illegal marijuana grow sites nearby, so that also was excluded as a possible cause.”

Fresno County officers mentioned the price of combating and extinguishing the hearth was $193 million. The value of restoration and rebuilding is estimated to exceed $500 million.

“We all want to know a definitive cause to what started the devastating Creek Fire last year,” Dean Gould, forest supervisor of the Sierra National Forest, mentioned in an announcement. “Investigators spent countless hours hiking rugged terrain to determine the cause, interviewed numerous leads, and eliminated multiple potential causes. In the end, lightning remains as the probable cause.”

Gould mentioned that at this level, “the case is considered closed, pending further leads.”

The hearth started September four and was lastly declared contained simply earlier than Christmas. The blaze destroyed 853 constructions and broken 64, in keeping with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Twenty-nine hearth fighters had been injured combating the blaze, Cal Fire mentioned

Three hearth complexes — the place two or extra fires merge — have burned extra acreage than the Creek hearth, together with final yr’s August Complex, which charred 1 million acres.

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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