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Investigators might have finally tracked down (smoked out?) the cause of the massive rim fire in California, which reached Yosemite National Park last week but is now 70 percent contained. While the exact cause of the fire has not yet been conclusively determined, the fire chief of the small town of Twain Harte has one potent theory.

"It's highly suspected it might have been some sort of illicit grow, marijuana-grow type of thing," Todd McNeal told community members at an August 23rd meeting. According to McNeal, the fire's origin point had no easy foot access and had not been struck by lightning recently, leading to the theory that the fire might have been sparked by an illegal marijuana farm.

Although the fire has covered 75 square miles of Yosemite terrain, it still has not really affected park attendance: "Park officials expect[ed] about 3,000 cars a day to pass through gates during the long Labor Day holiday weekend instead of the nearly 5,000 that might typically show. The fire has caused some people to cancel reservations in the park but those vacancies have been quickly filled, officials said."

So while Colorado and Washington continue on with their legal weed, the anti-marijuana can now potentially add "forest fire prevention" to their list of reasons not to legalize.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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