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Shasta Fire Suspect To Stand Trial For Arson

A man accused of starting a fire that destroyed 86 homes will stand trial for arson.

William Rupp of Shasta County faces a felony arson charge for allegedly starting the so-called Bear Fire in July.

The 44-year-old has pleaded innocent to that charge, as well as a special enhancement and misdemeanor count.

Authorities say he sparked the 11-thousand-acre blaze by mowing dry weeds on his property in temperatures that topped one-hundred degrees.

Investigators say the fire was ignited when blades from his lawn mower struck rocks.

His attorney said there is no evidence that Rupp acted negligently.

A trial date has been set for March.