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Rim Fire caused by hunter's illegal fire - Forest Service

September 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Rim Fire burning in and around Yosemite National Park began when a hunter lost control of an illegal fire, Forest Service officials said Thursday.

The Forest Service said Thursday there is no indication the hunter was involved with illegal marijuana cultivation, which a local fire chief had speculated as the possible cause of blaze.

No arrests have been made, and the hunter's name is being withheld pending further investigation.

The Rim Fire has consumed more than 370 square miles of Sierra Nevada forests since it erupted Aug. 17.

It is now 80 percent contained. Full containment is not expected until Sept. 30. The far-off date is because the portion of the fire burning in Yosemite is headed toward granite outcroppings that will act as a natural firebreak but won't be classified as technical containment.

Officials said 111 structures, including 11 homes, have been destroyed. More than 4,300 firefighters are still battling the blaze.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.