Updated 8:32 pm, Friday, August 4, 2017
Last month’s Detwiler Fire, which threatened the Gold Rush town of Mariposa, was started by somebody shooting off firearms, investigators said Friday.
The blaze, which has been largely contained, broke out on July 16 near Lake McClure and burned southward toward Mariposa, eventually forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. It has burned 81,826 acres and destroyed 131 structures, according to a news release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It is 97 percent contained.
The circumstances around the firearms incident are under investigation, and Cal Fire is offering a $2,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible. Those with information are asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at (559) 498-7867.
Evacuations began July 18, and residents of Mariposa were able to begin returning to their homes three days later.
Hot and dry conditions contributed to the fire’s rapid spread across the region. More than 3,500 firefighters battled the inferno, which is California’s second largest this year.
Alison Graham is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org