Father and son plead not guilty in Calif. wildfire case

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Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor fire pushes into the Echo Summit area, California on August 30, 2021. - At least 650 structures have burned and thousands more are threatened as the Caldor fire moves into the resort community of South Lake Tahoe, California. Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate Monday as a huge wildfire loomed over a major US tourist spot, filling the air with choking smoke. The Caldor Fire has already torn through more than 270 square miles (700 square kilometers), razing hundreds of buildings. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by JOSH EDELSON has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [the Echo Summit area] instead of [South Lake Tahoe]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor fire pushes into the Echo Summit area, California on August 30, 2021. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:22 PM PT – Friday, December 10, 2021

A father and son are being held on $1 million bail in connection with starting the Caldor Fire in Northern California.

David Scott Smith and his son, Travis, were arrested on Wednesday and accused with reckless arson. The El Dorado district attorney said the men were illegally shooting a weapon, which ignited the massive blaze near Lake Tahoe earlier this year.

Their attorney said it was an accident and that the pair did their best to alert authorities.

“These people called in the fire on 911. They called it in as soon as they saw it. And the call dropped a couple times, I believe, and they kept calling back. They also warned some other campers in the area there was a fire,” said Defense Attorney Mark Reichel.

The fire burned for more than two months across three counties, charring 200,000 acres and destroying more than 1,000 structures, including 770 homes. Sixteen firefighters and two civilians were injured and tens-of-thousands were forced to evacuate.

Meanwhile, the two made their first court appearance on Friday, where they pleaded not guilty to felony charges in connection with starting the Caldor Fire. The charges included were reckless arson and weapons charges.

The pair will be back in court on Monday.

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