OAKHURST, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a man confessed to accidentally starting a destructive wildfire in central California last month by burning a dead, rotting deer.
Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Thursday that the man was doing construction work on a property east of Oakhurst last month when he found the deer carcass. He told authorities he decided to burn the animal to get rid of the stench.
The Fresno Bee reports the man apologized for igniting what would become the Courtney Fire. The blaze destroyed 30 homes and burned 320 acres before reaching the edge of Bass Lake, a popular year-round destination. At its peak, 1,000 people were evacuated.
The man has not been named or arrested.
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