Rim Fire

Matt McMillian US Forest Service

A federal judge has dismissed charges against the California man accused of sparking the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in 2013. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero has more.

Prosecutors decided to drop the charges against 33-year-old Keith Matthew Emerald, after two key witnesses unexpectedly died. Without their testimonies the US Attorney said it was unlikely they could prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Nine months after the Rim Fire tore through the nearby forest, Kevin Reynolds and Randi Jones decided to live out a dream.

Reynolds: "We kind of wanted to rise from the ashes just to let people know there are still opportunities out there."

The two of them opened an old-fashioned meat market they had envisioned before the fire hit. Instead of being scared by the fire the couple says they were inspired.

Reynolds: The fire really didn’t affect our decision to open a meat market.  We knew that there may be some issues but people still need to eat.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the Junction Fire with Reporter Ezra David Romero who was on the ground earlier this week. Also on the program our news team visits the community of Groveland near where the Rim Fire hit and talks to locals about how the town is recovering.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 We now know who ignited the Rim Fire that scarred part of the beauty of the Sierra Nevada. But many other questions about the response to the fire still remain. In the second piece for our series on the fire, FM89 reporters Ezra David Romero and Diana Aguilera revisit the fire’s burn area and discover that people in the region are still wondering why the fire got so big.

Three weeks ago Wesley Wills had a flashback. 

“We were driving down Big Oak Flat Road and just saw it blowing up again like flame lengths of over 100 feet,” Wills says.

Mike McMillan / US Forest Service

The hunter accused of starting the massive Rim Fire last year in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park surrendered to federal authorities today.

Wearing a white t-shirt and jeans with his wrists and ankles cuffed, Keith Matthew Emerald pleaded not guilty on a four count indictment today in federal court in Fresno.

He turned himself over to U.S. Marshals Service this morning prior to his afternoon arraignment on charges that his illegal campfire grew beyond his control and sparked the largest wildfire recorded in the Sierra Nevada.

US Forest Service

The hunter who is alleged to have started the massive Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park has been indicted by a federal grand jury. 

The four count indictment alleges that Keith Matthew Emerald, 32 of Columbia started a fire and let it grow out of control on August 17, 2013 in the Clavey River Canyon.

According to authorities, Emerald was on a solo bow-hunting trip in the area and was rescued by a helicopter approximately an hour after the fire was first reported. 

Mike McMillan / US Forest Service

Nearly one year ago, a small fire near the Tuolumne River just west of Yosemite National Park grew into the largest blaze ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada. By the time the Rim Fire was contained in late October 2013, it had burned over 400 square miles, forever changing lives and the landscape. Today many residents and county officials are still frustrated by the investigation and are searching for answers.

Randy Hanvelt remembers the moment last year when a small wildfire in Tuolumne County a year ago became a raging inferno.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the Rim Fire one year later. KVPR reporter Diana Aguilera reports on the fire and the investigation around who started the blaze. Peggy Mosley, the owner of the historic Groveland Hotel, who kept her hotel open during the Rim Fire joins host Joe Moore for a talk about how volatile the region is to fire.

It's been nearly one year since the Rim Fire destroyed a vast swath of the Central Sierra, including a portion of Yosemite National Park. Within days of the fire, authorities told the public they knew the cause of the fire, and who did it. But after months of waiting,  no charges have been filed, no suspects have been named, and residents are demanding answers.  In this Rim Fire timeline we look back at the fire that became the largest ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the effect of fires on the Sierra Nevada.