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Crews struggle to contain Bully Fire; suspect makes bail

By KRCR News Channel 7
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:25:48 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 13 2014 09:56:11 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

All evacuations related to the Bully Fire in the Igo-Ono area of Shasta County were lifted Saturday night, just hours after CAL FIRE announced the arrest of a man for allegedly starting it.

Freddie Alexander Smoke III was taken into custody around 10 p.m. Friday night.

CAL FIRE investigators believe he was operating a large rental truck to deliver soil amendments to an illegal marijuana grow site in the area of
Roaring Creek Road and Sargent Road.

The fire allegedly started when Smoke operated the truck off road, in rough, grass covered terrain. Components of the truck’s exhaust system contacted the dry grass and ignited the vegetation.

Smoke was arrested for allegedly recklessly causing a fire and marijuana cultivation, both felonies. However, as of 2 a.m. Sunday, he had bailed out, according to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office.

The Shasta County Marijuana Eradication Team responded and seized over 180 marijuana plants growing at the site.

As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the fire has burned 4,000 acres and is 15% contained.

Eighteen structures have been destroyed, eight of which were homes. Several vehicles have been destroyed or damaged as well. About 65 structures remain threatened, about 15 of which are homes.

All road closures have been lifted as well for residents with proper identification.

A total of 1,705 personnel are now on the fire, including 93 engines, 54 crews, 8 helicopters, 30 dozers and 14 water tenders.

Officials do not have an estimate on full containment.