Man arrested for starting California blaze - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Man arrested for starting California blaze

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MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (AP) -- The Latest on wildfires burning in California (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Authorities say a 40-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of starting the blaze that destroyed more than 175 homes, business and other structures in a Northern California community.

Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Damin Anthony Pashilk of Clearlake, California was arrested Monday on 17 counts of arson and is in jail.

Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott says the blaze has caused over $10 million in damages and left dozens of families homeless.

Officials made the announcement at a news conference but didn't take questions or give any other details on Pashilk.

7:30 p.m.

A fire official says a blaze that destroyed more than 175 homes, businesses and other structures in a Northern California community grew very little Monday afternoon but firefighters are struggling to contain it.

Cal Fire Incident Commander Barry Biermann says the blaze in Lower Lake about 90 miles north of San Francisco grew 50 acres away from homes and into an area scorched by a wildfire last year.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fast-moving wildfire was more than six square miles and just 5 percent contained Monday night.

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5:45 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for two major wildfires burning in Lake and San Luis Obispo counties.

The declaration issued Monday frees up state resources and temporarily sets aside regulations for fighting the fire and the recovery.

The fire in Lake County has destroyed at least 175 structures, many of them homes and businesses in the town of Lower Lake.

The blaze in San Luis Obispo County, about 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles, has destroyed 12 structures and injured two people. It grew to nearly 7 square miles and forced authorities to evacuate residents by boat when it shifted toward Lake Nacimiento on Sunday.

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5:15 p.m.

Lisa Corrine Wilsey and her husband are nervously waiting to find out if their Lake County home was spared by the wildfire raging through the area.

Wilsey said they saw an ominous smoke plume rising above their home in Lower Lake's rolling hills before they fled. She's nearly positive the home has burned to the ground along with the neighboring winery.

"It's emotionally turbulent. At times I'm in tears, at other times I'm making jokes like, `I really did hate that green couch in the living room,' " she said.

The Wilseys' home was saved by firefighters last week from a 45-acre wildfire that came within two blocks. Crews got that blaze under control within a day. But she and her husband believe they weren't so fortunate this time.

Wilsey said they're already planning to rebuild, even though the fate of their home remains uncertain.

"We're safe, and we have each other. We can replace everything else," she said.

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2:40 p.m.

Vet and animal rescue groups have set up an evacuation center for animals hurt or left homeless in the blaze rampaging through California's wildfire weary Lake County.

Vets from a veterinary hospital in nearby Middletown, the scene last year's deadly wildfire, helped stabilize a mini horse suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to its nose and rear. Veterinarian Jeffery Smith of Middletown Animal Hospital says the horse, named Lightning Gekas, had difficulty breathing and was taken to the University of California, Davis' veterinary school for further treatment.

He said the horse was remarkably docile and friendly, especially considering the treatment it was undergoing.

Smith said people had more warning with this fire than the last, so he's hopeful fewer animals were hurt or killed in the flames.

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2 p.m.

As winds pick up, a destructive, fast-moving California wildfire has spread to more than six square miles.

Officials said Monday the blaze has destroyed at least 100 homes in the Lower Lake area about 90 miles north of San Francisco.

It has also burned the post office, a winery, a Habitat for Humanity office and several businesses. Another 1,500 homes and other structures are threatened.

No one has been injured.

The blaze is one of 11 large wildfires in the state, where high temperatures and parched conditions brought on by a five-year drought have raised the fire danger.

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11:55 a.m.

Mary and Bobby Henderson and their children had just 10 minutes to get what they could and get out of the house Sunday afternoon as they fled a wildfire in Northern California that's burned more than 100 homes.

They are still unsure of the shape of their house. It holds sentimental value to them too because the 3-bedroom place was big enough to allow them to last year adopt their three daughters.

The family is currently staying with friends. Six of their goats are also with friends but 10 remain missing.

One of the first things Mary Henderson grabbed was a tote bag filled with her late son's childhood books, blanket and other keepsakes. The 18-year-old took his life last year.

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9:25 a.m.

A fast-moving wildfire has destroyed at least 175 structures, including a historic firehouse and an antiques store, in a Northern California town.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant didn't have the breakdown of the number of homes, businesses and other buildings destroyed by the fire, which broke out Saturday and spans nearly 5 square miles.

He said earlier Monday that more than 100 homes burned down. No injuries have been reported, but pets have died as flames swept into Lower Lake, a small town about 90 miles north of San Francisco.

At least 1,500 structures are threatened after the fire burned the post office, a winery and a Habitat for Humanity office.

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7:10 a.m.

A fast-moving Northern California wildfire has destroyed more than 100 homes and forced thousands to flee an area where drought conditions and high temperatures are making firefighting difficult.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Monday that the fire in Lower Lake, about 90 miles north of San Francisco, has scorched nearly 5 square miles.

No injuries have been reported.

The flames jumped a road Sunday and moved into the town of 1,200 that's still recovering from a devastating wildfire nearly a year ago.

Of the 175, at least 100 are homes. The fire has also burned the post office, a winery, a Habitat for Humanity office and several businesses. Another 1,500 homes continue to be threatened.

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