King Fire

Coordinates: 38°46′55″N 120°36′14″W / 38.782°N 120.604°W / 38.782; -120.604
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King Fire
The fire as captured by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 19, 2014: "In the false-color image, burned forest appears red; unaffected forests are green; cleared forest is beige; and smoke is blue".
LocationPollock Pines, California
Coordinates38°46′55″N 120°36′14″W / 38.782°N 120.604°W / 38.782; -120.604
Date(s)September 13, 2014 (2014-09-13) – October 31, 2014 (2014-10-31)
Burned area97,717 acres (395 km2)
Buildings destroyed
  • 12 residences
  • 68 outbuildings
DeathsNone reported
Non-fatal injuries12
King Fire is located in Northern California
King Fire
Location of fire in Northern California
The King Fire as captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite on September 17

The King Fire was a wildfire that scorched over 97,000 acres (390 km2) of land in El Dorado County, California in the fall of 2014. The fire, which was named because it started off King of the Mountain Road in Pollock Pines, started on September 13, 2014, near Pollock Pines, California, to the east of Sacramento.[3]


On September 16, three days after starting, the fire had spread to 11,520 acres (46.6 km2) forcing the evacuation of over five hundred homes.[4] A handcrew of ten inmates and a Fire Captain were saved from being overrun when they were led to safety by a helicopter that was staged at the nearby Swansboro Country Airport.[5] By September 18, the fire had expanded to 73,184 acres (296.17 km2), becoming the second largest wildfire of the 2014 California wildfire season.[6][7] As a result of this growth, the mandatory evacuation order was expanded to 20,000 homes.

By the start of October the fire had grown to 97,099 acres (392.95 km2) with containment increasing to 94%.[6] On October 9, the perimeter of the King Fire was reported to be 100% contained, with a final acreage of 97,717 acres (395.45 km2).[3] During the following days, pockets of fire continued burning deep inside the containment lines.[3]

On October 10, the closure area was reduced, as additional progress was made.[3] During the next several days, the wildfire was diminished further, as the weather in the region entered a cooling trend. The King Fire injured a total of twelve people and caused the evacuation of nearly 3,000 people in the area.[8] It destroyed 12 singles residences and 68 other residential structures, but the amount of damage caused by the wildfire remains unknown.[citation needed]


On September 18, 2014, Wayne Huntsman was arrested on suspicion of intentionally starting the fire.[1][9] He initially pled not guilty to the charges,[10] but in April 2016 pled guilty to arson. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $60 million in restitution.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rocha, Veronica; Xia, Rosanna (September 18, 2014). "Man arrested on suspicion of arson in out-of-control King fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  2. ^ "Giant King fire burns 10 homes, could be whipped up as weather shifts". Los Angeles Times. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "King Fire". InciWeb. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  4. ^ "King Fire in El Dorado County". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. ^ Megna, Dan (2015). "1600 Yards to Freedom". Vertical Magazine, Heli-Expo news. p. 46. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b "King Fire General Information". Cal Fire. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  7. ^ Berman, Mark (19 September 2014). "Massive King fire in California continues to grow". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Massive King fire still rages, could be whipped up as weather changes". Los Angeles Times. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  9. ^ York, Jessica A. (September 19, 2014). "King Fire arson suspect is former Santa Cruz man". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved February 17, 2023 – via Mercury News.
  10. ^ "King Fire arson suspect pleads not guilty". Sacramento: KXTV. September 20, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Wayne Allen Huntsman Sentenced to 20 Years For Setting King Fire". CBS News Sacramento. April 8, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2023.