Arson Blamed in Big Auburn, Ca. Fire

AUBURN, Calif. --

Arson is being blamed for a big fire in north Auburn that caused about $40 million in damage as as it burned dozens of homes and businesses, officials said Monday.

The wind-fueled fire started shortly after 2 p.m. on Aug. 30, destroying 63 homes, two businesses and many vehicles. About 350 acres were charred just off Highway 49.

No arrests have been made, but Cal Fire is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

"I am very concerned these were intentionally set and that no one is in custody. We need to round them up as quickly as we can," Cal Fire's Brad Harris said.

Witnesses told investigators of seeing someone set at least one of the fires.

It was not immediately clear how the blazes were set because there was no physical evidence left behind.

The blaze originated near Highway 49 and Rock Creek Road. About 20 minutes after the first blaze broke out, another fire was reported about a quarter-mile to the east.

"A second fire? I don't understand that. I don't understand that. I'll never understand that. Why would they intentionally do that?" said Barbara Koski, who lost her home in the blaze.

The second fire ultimately joined the first, creating a challenge for firefighters.

Both fires were fed by winds that topped 20 mph.

Anyone with information may call the Cal Fire arson tip line at 1-800-468-4408.

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