California authorities arrested a woman on Wednesday and charged her with starting a 2018 fire that burned through more than 63,000 acres, damaged 20 homes, and injured two people in the northern part of the region.
During a news conference, Shasta County and Cal Fire officials said the suspect, Cynthia Ann Leroux, was at her home in Mountain Gate, California when they arrested her. The suspect faces 18 felony charges related to the Delta Fire that started on September 5, 2018.
The charges include two counts of arson of forest land causing great bodily injury and 16 counts for the destruction of homes, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said. She said one truck driver fell victim to the fire and suffered burns and a head injury.
Authorities also charged 57-year-old Leroux with two felonies related to two fires she is accused of starting in December 2018 and March 2020. Officials are holding the suspect on a $1 million bail. If convicted, she could face a maximum of 50 years in prison. Officials will spend at least $59 million to restore what the fire destroyed.
“The wildfires of 2018 destroyed our community and changed lives forever. Countless people lost everything they owned. With the drought that California is in, and fire season that is upon us, this announcement is a timely reminder of the consequences of setting fires,” Bridgett said, the New York Times reported.
Leroux’s arrest is one of many in a series of fire-starting crimes in California. Los Angeles County officials posted on Instagram about the charging of a man accused of starting the fire last summer that damage the San Gabriel Mission. Northern California officials arrested a man last month on suspicion of starting a 2020 wildfire to cover the murder of a woman.