From The New York Times:
POTTER VALLEY, Calif. — It was a fire that crossed mountain ranges and valleys, that spanned multiple counties and shocked Californians by its sheer scale — by far the biggest wildfire in modern state history. And yet a newly disclosed investigation suggests it was probably started by a single man and a single spark.
In a report released in recent days, forensic investigators found that a rancher started the fire when hammering a metal stake in his backyard to snuff out a wasp nest. Sparks flew, igniting dry grass stalks and spreading fire quickly across the desiccated landscape. The rancher’s name was not disclosed, but a review of records led to the home of Glenn Kile, a former heavy equipment operator in his mid-50s, who had no inkling of the devastation he would unleash on a Friday morning last July while tinkering in his backyard. Seeing the fire, he said, came as a shock.
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