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Man guilty of setting fire that killed 12 California condors

California Wildfire-Condor Sanctuary Burns
Posted at 10:23 AM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 13:23:18-04

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — A man who started a 2020 wildfire that killed 12 endangered California condors and seriously injured a firefighter has been convicted of arson.

Ivan Gomez was convicted Thursday in Monterey County of 16 felony counts, including arson and animal cruelty.

He could face up to 24 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Gomez told them he set the August 2020 Big Sur Dolan fire while illegally growing marijuana in the Los Padres National Forest.

The blaze northwest of Los Angeles injured several firefighters, one seriously, destroyed 10 homes and burned down a condor sanctuary.