A 52-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing the 30-acre vegetation fire that crews are battling Saturday in Grass Valley.
Sgt. Clint Bates of the Grass Valley Police Department said the man, David Holm, was arrested and taken to UC Davis Medical Center to be treated for burns.
At 1:30 p.m., Grass Valley Fire and Police personnel were dispatched to a vegetation fire in the area of South Auburn and Whiting streets in Grass Valley, police reported. The first Grass Valley Police unit to arrive detained a man with burn injuries to his lower legs who was walking away from the fire. After speaking with him and witnesses, the officer placed him under arrest for arson, police said.
The suspect was identified as Holm, who has been a transient of the Grass Valley area for many years, police said.
The investigation is ongoing, but police said it appears that the fire started in a wooded area where Holm was camping and was possibly caused by a cigarette.
Bates said the man will be booked into the Nevada County Main Jail. His charges will be determined later, Bates said.
The Auburn Fire, which initially grew to 50 acres, caused the evacuation of Empire Mine State Park, but that has since been lifted, officials report.
Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the fire is 50 percent contained. The blaze’s forward spread has been stopped and its structure threat has been mitigated, Berlant said.
The fire began in an area filled with dead trees, Berlant said.
“Dead trees burn more intensely due to drought or bark beetles,” Berlant said.