Progress Made On Shasta County Fire; Fatality Discovered

Jul 19, 2014

The Bully Fire shortly after starting Friday afternoon, as seen to the west of Whiskeytown Lake.
Credit Max Walter


UPDATED | Saturday 9 am - As firefighters make significant progress on Shasta County’s  Bully Fire , Cal Fire officials report that a body has been discovered within the burn zone. 

Cheryl Buliavac, a spokesperson for Cal Fire’s Shasta Trinity Unit, says the body was found late Wednesday afternoon near a residence north of Platina Road. “It appears that the individual was trying to escape the approaching fire,” said Buliavac.

The Shasta County Sheriff reported late Thursday that the male victim's age and identity has not yet been determined, and that while an autopsy has been performed, cause of death will be released following a toxicology report. 

The fire has continued to grow, although firefighters are working steadily towards containment. As of Saturday morning, the fire had burned almost 12,700 acres of land and is 61 percent contained. Officials expect to reach full containment next week. Mandatory evacuations for the area have been lifted, although some roads remain closed to all but emergency vehicles.

Eight homes and at least ten other buildings have been destroyed by the Bully Fire while another 68 structures remain threatened.

Shasta County deputies say the fire was the result of truck exhaust setting fire to dry grass when Freddie Alexander Smoke III delivered supplies to an illegal marijuana growing operation. The Sacramento man was arrested Friday on charges of marijuana cultivation and recklessly starting a fire, but was released after posting $10,000 bail.

Meanwhile, three small fires burning since last week in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County have been fully contained, according to Forest Service spokesperson Kerry Greene. She says one additional fire sparked by lightning Wednesday evening was immediately suppressed after burning only 1/4 acre.