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Father and son arrested for allegedly sparking Caldor Fire

Caldor Fire evacuees return to South Lake Tahoe
Caldor Fire evacuees return to South Lake Tah... 00:20

Nearly four months after the Caldor Fire broke out, two men have been arrested for allegedly starting the massive blaze. The fire burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of structures before it was contained on October 21.

David Smith, 66, and Travis Smith, 32, were charged with reckless arson, the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday. Both men are being held on $1 million bail each and are expected to be arraigned by Friday, CBS Sacramento reports.

Mark Reichel, the attorney for both men, insists they did not start the fire. He told the Associated Press that the men saw flames in the area of the fire's origin, and the son, who is an electrician, called 911 several times.

Reichel told AP he did not know details of the accusation, such as how authorities allege the fire was set.

"There has been no evidence submitted into a court subject to my cross-examination ... that proves any of the prosecution's evidence yet. So I urge everyone to wait and hear what really happened before they form any opinions," the attorney said.

The Caldor Fire began on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada on August 14. It spread further into California, coming alarmingly close to the tourist area of Lake Tahoe, according to AP. Thousands of people were evacuated from the area and officials were able to keep the flames from most heavily populated areas. 

Five people were injured and 221,835 acres of land were torched over the course of 67 days, Cal Fire reported. In addition, 81 structures were damaged and 1,003 structures were destroyed. 

Caldor Fire burning a home near South Lake Tahoe, California
Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor Fire pushes into South Lake Tahoe, California on August 30, 2021. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
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