BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) – Authorities have announced an arrest in connection with the Ponderosa Fire, which is burning in Butte County.

On Tuesday, Cal Fire law enforcement officers arrested 29-year-old John Ballenger. He’s accused of starting a campfire outside of a designated campground and allowing it to escape, according to a statement from Cal Fire.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the fire had destroyed 10 homes. Another five homes have been damaged.

The fire is burning about two miles northwest of Forbestown.

“All campfires pose a risk of escaping. A campfire should never be left unattended and must be extinguished completely before everyone leaves,” said Cal Fire/Butte County Fire Chief Darren Read.




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