A 29-year-old Oroville man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of starting the 2,500-acre Ponderosa Fire burning in the Sierra foothills of Butte County.
According to a Cal Fire press release, John Ballenger is suspected of “recklessly starting a campfire outside a designated campground and allowing it to escape.”
The fire was first reported to the Cal Fire command center at 1:11 p.m. Tuesday. It is currently zero percent contained and has destroyed 10 homes and 20 outbuildings so far east of Oroville. Fifteen more structures have been damaged, and Cal Fire estimates that 500 structures are currently threatened.