A Tuolumne County man is facing federal charges for allegedly starting 2013’s destructive Rim Fire, which burned more than 250,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest and became California’s third-largest wildfire in the state’s history.
Keith Emerald, a hunter, reportedly started a fire that got away from him and later lied about it, prosecutors said. Investigators say, given the state’s drier-than-normal climate, Emerald knew the risk that came with starting a fire.
The Rim Fire burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 24, 2013. Eleven homes were destroyed. The fire cost $127 million to fight.