Two men arrested, accused of starting Caldor Fire

The blaze burned more than 221,000 acres south of Lake Tahoe, CA

Caldor Fire
Caldor Fire, looking northeast from Armstrong lookout, August 29, 2021. AlertWildfire.

A father and son are now under arrest, accused of reckless arson in connection with the Caldor Fire that burned more than 221,000 acres south of Lake Tahoe in California.

David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, are accused of violating section 452 of the California Penal Code, commonly referred to as “reckless arson,” which causes inhabited properties to burn and results in great bodily injury to multiple victims. This type of charge can be filed against someone who unintentionally starts a fire. Both David and Travis are being held on a $1 million bail, the district attorney’s office said. They are expected to appear in court December 10.

Most of the community of Grizzly Flats burned in the Caldor Fire and forced the entire city of South Lake Tahoe to evacuate.  CAL FIRE reported that the blaze destroyed 782 homes, 18 businesses, and 203 minor structures; another 81 structures were damaged but remained mostly intact. A map shows the status of structures in the area.

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office worked  with the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, the California Department of Justice, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab to investigate the cause of the fire.

Caldor Fire, final map
Caldor Fire, final map. NIFC.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.