Suspected California pot-grower charged with starting Nicolls Fire

A second California man suspected of running an illegal pot-growing operation has been charged with igniting a wildfire, this time in the Sequoia National Forest.

Edgardo Fournier was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday and charged with cultivating thousands of marijuana plants, damaging forest lands and starting the Nicolls fire, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Fournier allegedly ignited the blaze when he learned that other men working on the grow planned to kill him, according to court documents. Fournier told investigators he was fleeing other men on July 11 when he decided to light small fires with a cigarette lighter to stop the pursuit, The Bee reported.

The fire eventually grew to more than 1,600 acres and could incur millions of dollars in damages.

The same day the Nicolls fire ignited, California authorities say that Freddie Alexander Smoke III allegedly started the Bully Fire as he was driving a truck to a marijuana grow he was tending.

The Bully Fire has burned 12,661 acres and destroyed 21 structures. A body of person was also later found within the fire perimeter.

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