Cal Fire: Illegal grow wires sparked Yuba County wildfire |

Cal Fire: Illegal grow wires sparked Yuba County wildfire

A 5-acre fire in the Yuba County foothills last year was caused by electric lines to an illegal marijuana grow operation, Cal Fire says in criminal court documents.

Kevin S. Verner and James Matthew Fiske were charged with felony arson in Yuba County Superior Court on Wednesday for a fire that occurred Aug. 13, 2015. A warrant has been requested for their arrest.

An affidavit written by a Cal Fire investigator says the men improperly wired extension cords into an unknown power source for the purpose of protecting an illegal marijuana grow. That caused an electrical overload, causing a fire.

District Attorney Patrick McGrath said there were no marijuana-related charges filed against Verner or Fiske because there was not an investigation into the ownership of the grow.

Verner already has an open criminal case in Yuba County Superior Court. He was charged in July with burglary, grand theft and two counts of unlawful taking of a vehicle.

Vaughan is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat; she can be reached at 749-4783 and on Twitter @MonicaLVaughan.

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