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Willow Fire Grows; Madera County DA Says Juvenile Could Be Charged

U.S. Forest Service InciWeb

A Type III engine with the Willow Fire smoke plume, as seen Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

U.S. Forest Service InciWeb


(AP) — A prosecutor says a boy has acknowledged starting a  wildfire in the Sierra National Forest that threatens hundreds of mountain homes near Fresno.

Madera County District Attorney David Linn said Tuesday that he and investigators met with the boy and his family.

Linn says they boy used a lighter to burn pine needles on a tree, and the flames got away from him, even though he tried to smother the fire with his clothes.

The boy's family reported the fire to officials and has cooperated with the investigation.

Linn declined to identify the boy who remains at home and could be charged next week.

The fire threatens 450 structures in the wooded communities of Bass Lake and Cascadel Woods north of Fresno.

It has burned 1,739 acres, and is 5 percent contained.

Evacuations

- The Central Camp area was evacuated due to the fire.
- The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center and is located at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425 B in Oakhurst.

Closures

- Gagges, Whiskers, and Whiskey Falls campgrounds are closed.

- All roads from 227 to these campgrounds are closed.

A Willow Fire information phone number has been established: (559) 877-7449.