Officials: Hunter’s Illegal Fire Sparked Wildfire Near Yosemite

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(GROVELAND, Calif.) -- The massive wildfire that has been burning in and around Yosemite National Park since the middle of August was started by a hunter, officials said Thursday.

In a statement, the U.S. Forest Service said investigators determined the so-called Rim Fire "began when a hunter allowed an illegal fire to escape."

Previously, investigators looked at the possibility that the flames were ignited by lightening or stemmed from an illegal marijuana grow.

"There is no indication the hunter was involved with illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands and no marijuana cultivation sites were located near the origin of the fire," the Forest Service said.

According to the agency, the hunter's name is being withheld pending further investigation.  No one has been arrested.

Since the Rim Fire began on Aug. 17, it has burned 237,341 acres.  As of Thursday, the fire is 80 percent contained.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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