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Massive California 'King' Wildfire Keeps 3,000 From Homes

The King fire, burning 60 miles east of Sacramento in the town of El Dorado, has ballooned to nearly 130 square miles.

Nearly 3,000 people were kept from their Northern California homes Sunday due to an arson-related wildfire that was growing substantially with every passing day. The "King fire," burning 60 miles east of Sacramento in the town of El Dorado, has ballooned to nearly 82,000 acres (130 square miles) in eight days, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. The blaze threatened 12,000 residences and 9,000 other structures, according to Cal Fire officials. The El Dorado County Administrative Office said in a statement that 10 residences and 22 other structures had already been damaged or destroyed, but the number would likely increase once a full assessment was complete. The fire was only 10 percent contained by Sunday afternoon, officials said.

More than 5,000 personnel were fighting the blaze, which police say was sparked by an arsonist. The suspected fire-starter, Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was arrested Thursday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Meanwhile, seven major wildfires were burning in drought-parched California Sunday, down from eleven the previous weekend, according to Cal Fire public information officer Daniel Berlant. Crews fighting the King fire, who were helped by higher humidity Saturday, would not be so lucky on Sunday, but temperatures were expected to stay below 85 degrees, according to

Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, seen with his lawyer, was arraigned in El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., on Sept. 19.NBC News



— Elisha Fieldstadt