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Kansas Camper Arrested In Connection With Boulder Creek Vegetation Fires

FELTON (CBS SF) -- A 34-year-old Kansas woman, who had been camping in the Santa Cruz Mountains, has been arrested in connection to two vegetation fires in the Pond View Drive area of Boulder Creek.

Cal Fire said Mary Ferino was placed under arrest on Thursday and booked on charges related to the fires. The blazes still remain under investigation and no further information was released.

The investigation and arrest came amid a busy early wildfire season for Cal Fire crews in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where the devastating CZU Lightning Complex fires last fall burned 86,509 acres, destroyed thousands of homes and claimed one life.

Crews continue to remain vigilant for any flare-ups in the burn zone even months after the flames were controlled. A lack of rainfall has left the region gripped in a severe drought and the underbrush tinder-dry. Conditions that are prime for wildfires.

On Thursday night at the same time as the Boulder Creek fire, crews contained the Canyon Incident -- a flare-up that damaged the Skylark Ranch Girl Scouts Camp, east of Davenport.

"The public needs to remain vigilant, as we expect these types of flare-ups to continue throughout the summer and fall," Cal Fire tweeted.

From March 31-April 7, Cal Fire crews also responded to and suppressed five wildland fires in the mountains.

"This is highly unusual for this time of year," Cal Fire said in a news release. "Because of dryer and warmer conditions, coupled with a second year of drought, fuels are apt to burn. Rainfall totals are 50% of normal for this time of year for the region."

One of those recent fires was a 6-acre blaze. It was the result of a "sleeper spot" which can include tree stumps and roots.

"Even months later, dry conditions and wind can fan these sleeper spots, which can come back to the surface and ignite surrounding vegetation," Cal fire said. "We will continue to monitor, respond to, and suppress these smokes as they arise."


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