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Vehicle Sought For Sparking Ferguson Fire

Sonora, CA – Calling it a “vehicle-related” fire, the U.S. Forest Service is asking for the public’s help to identify the automobile believed to have sparked the Ferguson Fire.

Federal investigators have determined that superheated pieces of a catalytic converter came into contact with dry, roadside vegetation, igniting the blaze, which began along Highway 140 near Savage’s Trading Post in Mariposa County on July 13th. Although investigators did not release any description of a possible  vehicle in connection with the blaze, they are asking for anyone who may have witnesses the fire’s ignition that evening or may have information regarding the vehicle to contact the Sierra National Forest at (559) 297-0706.

The fire claimed two firefighter’s lives: CAL Fire Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit heavy fire equipment operator Braden Varney and Captain Brian Hughes of the Arrowhead Hotshots with the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. The fire was fully contained on Aug. 22 after destroying ten structures and scorching 96,901 acres of the Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest, state lands and Yosemite National Park. The historic shutdown of Yosemite Valley and timeline of the fire can be viewed by clicking here.

The National Park Service and CAL Fire assisted in the investigation. Forest Service officials note that motorists are responsible for many of the wildfires sparked along roadways and remind that proper vehicle maintenance and safety measures could prevent many of them. They advise:

  • Practice safe towing – Secure Chains
  • Maintain your Vehicle – Be sure there are no Dragging Parts
  • Maintain Tires – Check Tire Pressure and Tread
  • Carry a fire extinguisher
  • Do not drive or park on dry grass or brush