With California already wrestling with another potentially difficult wildfire season, Shasta County officials filed arson charges in connection with a 2018 fire that closed I-5 for several days.
Officials arrested Cynthia Ann Leroux, 57, on charges of starting the Delta Fire, which burned 20 homes and destroyed 63,000 acres. Two truck drivers were injured; one was hospitalized with severe burns.
The fire started in the vicinity of Shasta Lake on Sept. 5, 2018, when authorities had their hands full with the far more destructive Carr Fire in the Redding area. The Carr Fire killed eight people and burned down 1,000 buildings.
Leroux “took advantage of our vulnerability,” said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett.
Bridgett wouldn’t go into details of the case or discuss alleged motives. She said Leroux was also charged with setting two smaller fires.
Leroux was arrested Wednesday at her home in the Shasta County community of Mountain Gate. She was held at the county jail in lieu of $1 million bail, said J.T. Zulliger, a Cal Fire battalion chief.
California has already seen 1,787 fires this year, burning a combined 8,400 acres. Last year was the most destructive season in modern California history, as 4 million acres burned.