Edward Fredrick Wackerman was arrested on Friday and now faces numerous charges, including aggravated arson, for starting a wildfire last summer that ripped through Yosemite National Park and destroyed more than 100 homes.
At the time the fire was raging and burning through thousands upon thousands of acres of forest land, forcing California Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency, the fire was blamed on climate change.
Al Gore, for instance, said, “The survival of our civilization is at stake.” Gore added, “We’re seeing this global emergency play out and it’s getting worse more quickly than was predicted. We have got to step up. This should be a moment for a global epiphany.”
Similarly, John Kerry wanted to declare a “climate emergency” as the fire raged and Sen. Alex Padilla said, on Twitter, “Thank you to all the firefighters and first responders working tirelessly under difficult conditions to combat the #OakFire. Worsening drought and severe weather will only continue to put lives and property at risk from wildfire if we don’t take climate action NOW.”
The fire Wackerman is accused of starting was so intense that a firefighter told the Guardian it was creating its own weather patterns, saying, “the fire is burning so intensely that it tends to create its own weather. There is a lot of fuel to be consumed out there.” Thousands of firefighters were called upon to fight the blaze and attempt to contain it, which they eventually did after it burned through over 30 square miles of land and smoke from it drifted hundreds of miles away.
Well, Wackerman was arrested and accused of starting the blaze. He has, since 2020, donated a total of $1,775 to Democratic candidates and committees. Included in that is a $1,000 donation to the failed campaign of Sen. Tim Ryan, a very vocal proponent of taking radical action to stop climate change. Ryan, in 2019, said, “The science is in, climate change is real. The threat is not distant, it is here now. I am tired of just hearing about how we need to reduce climate change, it is time to start talking about how we are going to reverse it.”
Mariposa County District Attorney Walter Wall, in a statement on Wackerman’s arrest, said, “Ed Wackerman is facing several felony charges, including aggravated arson. These charges carry serious legal consequences and the District Attorney is committed to ensuring a fair trial and upholding justice.”
Similarly, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, in a statement on Wackerman’s arrest, said, “CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Officers arrested 71-year-old Edward Fredrick Wackerman on Friday, June 16, 2023, in Mariposa County. Through an extensive investigation Wackerman, a local Mariposa resident, was identified as the suspect responsible for igniting the Oak fire in July 2022. The Oak fire occurred in the Midpines area in Mariposa County. The Oak fire burned 19,244 acres of vegetation, 127 residential structures and 66 outbuildings.”
The office went on to add that numerous charges have been brought against Wackerman, saying, “Wackerman was arrested on multiple felony charges including suspicion of aggravated arson PC 451.5, arson that causes great bodily injury PC 451(a), and arson causing damage or destruction of inhabited structures PC 451(b). For more information contact the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office.”
Further, it noted the wide array of departments and agencies involved in the investigation and arrest, saying, “The arrest and comprehensive investigation were a collaborative effort between multiple agencies consisting of CAL FIRE Law Enforcement, Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Forest Service (USFS) Law Enforcement, National Park Service Law Enforcement, Madera County District Attorney Investigators, Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Justice Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”
Featured image credit: Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office
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