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California Briefing / Santa Barbara

Charges won't be filed in wildfire

February 14, 2009|Associated Press

Ten people who built a campfire will not be charged with igniting a wildfire last fall that burned more than 200 homes in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito, prosecutors said Friday.

Because investigators could not prove who caused the wildfire, the group will be charged only with misdemeanor trespassing and unlawfully building and using a campfire without permission, said Dist. Atty. Christie Stanley. The misdemeanor counts carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine and three to five years of probation.

The wildfire, fanned by blistering winds, began Nov. 13 and seriously injured two people, consumed nearly 2,000 acres and destroyed rows of multimillion-dollar homes.

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