Where there’s Smoke …

Man accused of starting Bully Fire charged with involuntary manslaughter

The man accused of starting the Bully Fire in Shasta County was charged with involuntary manslaughter July 22.

Freddie Alexander Smoke III (pictured) was arrested by Cal Fire law enforcement officers at the origin of the Bully Fire on July 11, according to a Cal Fire press release. The exhaust system of the rental truck Smoke drove through dry vegetation while delivering soil amendments to an illegal marijuana garden allegedly started the fire. Smoke was arrested on felony counts of recklessly causing a fire and marijuana cultivation.

On July 16, after Smoke posted bail, authorities discovered the body of a man who apparently attempted to flee the fire. The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office filed additional charges, including involuntary manslaughter, on July 22. As of this paper’s deadline, law enforcement officers were “actively pursuing leads regarding Smoke’s whereabouts,” the release said.

The Bully Fire burned 12,661 acres and destroyed 20 structures.