A Folsom man and his father who have been accused of causing the devastating Caldor Fire in 2021 will not face criminal charges related to the fire.  

Advertisement

Friday afternoon, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Vickie Ashworth ruled that there was insufficient evidence to put the two on trial for what was being referred to as “reckless burning” charges.

Travis Smith, of Folsom and his Father David of Somerset will return to court and face various firearm related charges in the case. The two are schedule to be arraigned on those charges on Feb. 2.

Advertisement

“We still got a little bit of fight left because there’s a few hanging charges that are left,” Mark Reichel, Travis Shane Smith’s attorney told the media following Friday’s ruling. “This was the big one, and we are obviously very appreciative of the justice system working exactly how we were all taught it was supposed to work in our civics lessons in grammar school and high school.”

Travis Smith is being charged for possession of an illegal firearm; David Smith is being charged with possession of a silencer. The two previously pleaded not guilty after they were arrest in December of 2021. Court documents alleged that the two were in the area in which the fire began, shooting firearms in extremely dry conditions which sparked the fire. 

Advertisement

The Caldor Fire began near the community of Grizzly Flats back on Aug. 14, 2021. It burned some 1,000 buildings, destroying much of the town of Grizzly Flats. In the following weeks, it spread uphill. Growing to almost 350 square miles. At least three people suffered great bodily injury, a according to the charges.

Two weeks after the fire began, the fire made an aggressive push from Echo Summit across Christmas Valley and nearly reached the Nevada state line, forcing over 50,000 thousand residents to evacuation for days and even weeks. It destroyed over 1,000 structures, including more than 770 homes and burned 221,835 acres. 

During pre-trial proceeding, the Smith’s attorney’s noted that the Smith’s actions “displayed anything but recklessness,” illustrating that their efforts to alert others and quickly reported the fire that had broken out on Forest Service land. 

Advertisement

“It is very important what our clients before they ever met us, and what they did was acted responsibly. They could have left that area without ever going near the campers to warn them, but instead they went to the campers to warn them.” stated Attorney Linda Parisi who represented David Smith. 

According to court documents, investigators claimed that the fire started when a “projectile discharged from a firearm and struck an object, causing heated fragments of the projectile to land in a dry receptive fuel bed, igniting the fuels.”

Advertisement

Both Travis and David Smith are scheduled to return to El Dorado County Superior Court on Feb. 2 to be arraigned on the remaining firearm charges.

The Caldor Fire burned for 68-days in 2021 and destroyed over 1000 structures, including the town of Grizzly Flats.

Photos: Calfire Media

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan