Homeless Man Arrested For Allegedly Starting Big Sur Wildfire With Cigarette

MONTEREY COUNTY (CBS SF) — A transient was arrested Monday for allegedly starting a small fire that burned forest land in Big Sur in March, Monterey County sheriff’s officials said.

Harlan Graves, 26, was arrested in connection with the fire, which was reported at 7:27 p.m. on March 22 near Clear Ridge Road in the Los Padres National Forest.

The blaze was quickly extinguished thanks to citizens at the scene and emergency responders, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office, along with the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, state park rangers and the U.S. Forest Service, eventually identified the suspect as Graves, a transient known in the Big Sur and Monterey areas, sheriff’s officials said.

Graves was interviewed in the county jail, where he was in custody on unrelated charges, and he admitted to accidentally starting the fire with a cigarette, according to the sheriff’s office.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of recklessly causing a wildfire, with bail set at $10,000.

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