MADERA – The juvenile who allegedly started the Willow Fire that burned over 5,700 acres near North Fork, appeared in Madera Superior Court this morning, and was ordered detained in the Madera County Juvenile Detention Facility while awaiting his next court appearance, scheduled for Aug. 28.
The boy is accused of starting the fire on Saturday, July 25, by playing with a lighter and torching off some branches. The fire then got away from him, and though he and his family reportedly tried to put it out, the result was a massive wildfire that threatened 450 homes and forced the evacuation of the Cascadel area, Douglas Ranger Station and many on the east side of Road 274.
District Attorney David Linn says he believes that significant psychological counseling would be necessary for the young boy, possibly including in-patient treatment at a facility in southern California.
Considering the fact that youthful offenders are responsible for 40 percent of the arson fires throughout the United States, Linn says it is his goal to send a loud and clear message to potential offenders in Madera County that their unlawful acts must come to an end.
The name of the accused is not being released due to his juvenile status.
The minor who started 13 fires in the John West Road area in 2014 will also appear in Department 5 on Aug. 28. He was placed on house arrest yesterday after violating the terms of his probation by allegedly taking pictures and being in close proximity to the Willow Fire.