Woman charged with starting California’s Delta wildfire that destroyed 63,000 acres

·2 min read
An abandoned smoldering truck after the Delta Fire tore through the area north of Redding, California and jumped the interstate on 5 September 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)
An abandoned smoldering truck after the Delta Fire tore through the area north of Redding, California and jumped the interstate on 5 September 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

A California woman has been arrested and charged with starting a 2018 wildfire that destroyed 63,000 acres and 42 structures, including 20 homes.

Cynthia Ann LeRoux of Mountain Gate, Shasta County, has been charged with 20 felony counts of arson relating to the Delta Fire, as well as two smaller fires.

Custody records show two counts of arson — for property and forest land — and one for arson causing great bodily injury to two truck drivers passing through the area at the time of the fire.

No motive is known at this time, but Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett told Fox News that Ms LeRoux had a history of arson.

Adding to the seriousness of the charges is that the fire was set during a state of emergency due to a nearby and much larger wildfire, which had only just been brought under control after more than a month.

Firefighting resources were already stretched extremely thin by the Carr Fire, which killed eight people and burned some 1,600 structures, including 1,100 homes, over an area of 230,000 acres.

The Carr Fire was declared 100 per cent contained on 30 August 2018 having first been reported on 23 July. The Delta Fire was set on 5 September and burned until 7 October.

Ms LeRoux’s bail has been set at $1m and she remains at the county jail after being taken into custody on Wednesday morning, The Redding Record Searchlight reports.

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If convicted she could face a sentence in excess of 55 years.

DA Bridgett said at a press conference that the announcement was a timely reminder of the consequences of setting fires.

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