UPDATED 4:22 PM PT – Friday, December 10, 2021
A father and son are being held on $1 million bail in connection with starting the Caldor Fire in Northern California.
David Scott Smith and his son, Travis, were arrested on Wednesday and accused with reckless arson. The El Dorado district attorney said the men were illegally shooting a weapon, which ignited the massive blaze near Lake Tahoe earlier this year.
Their attorney said it was an accident and that the pair did their best to alert authorities.
“These people called in the fire on 911. They called it in as soon as they saw it. And the call dropped a couple times, I believe, and they kept calling back. They also warned some other campers in the area there was a fire,” said Defense Attorney Mark Reichel.
— Sara Stinson (@SaraStinsonNews) December 9, 2021
The fire burned for more than two months across three counties, charring 200,000 acres and destroying more than 1,000 structures, including 770 homes. Sixteen firefighters and two civilians were injured and tens-of-thousands were forced to evacuate.
Meanwhile, the two made their first court appearance on Friday, where they pleaded not guilty to felony charges in connection with starting the Caldor Fire. The charges included were reckless arson and weapons charges.
The pair will be back in court on Monday.