Father, Son Arrested for Allegedly Starting Massive Caldor Fire in California

by Jon D. B.

The father and son see accusations of reckless arson in connection with the Caldor Fire and are currently on hold on $1 million bail each.

2021’s horrific Caldor Fire was a tragedy no residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin will ever forget. The Caldor Fire would ravage over 220,000 acres in Northern California. Over 1,000 structures would burn within its two-month-long reign.

Now, El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office has announced late Wednesday that arrests have been made in connection to this catastrophic California wildfire. 66-year-old David Scott Smith and 32-year-old Travis Shane Smith came into custody Dec. 8. Both are suspects in the wildfire’s origins.


“A father and son are now under arrest, accused of reckless arson in connection with the Caldor Fire, the massive wildfire that burned more than 200,000 acres in El Dorado and Amador Counties,” begins the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office Wednesday evening.

“David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, were arrested pursuant to Ramey warrants. A Ramey warrant is a warrant that issues before criminal charges. The two men are accused of violating section 452 of the California Penal Code, commonly referred to as “reckless arson,” which caused inhabited properties to burn and resulted in great bodily injury to multiple victims,” their statement continues.

“The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office worked together with the USDA Forest Service, Cal Fire, the California Department of Justice and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Crime Lab to investigate the cause of the Caldor Fire.”

According to local KCRA, both David Scott Smith and Travis Shane Smith are on hold on $1 million bond each. The maximum penalty for someone over “reckless arson,” however, is only 6 years.

The Horrors of California Wildfires

For a startling look at what these two men caused, this video says it all. The following time-lapse does a frightening job of illustrating the impact Caldor Fire had on Lake Tahoe.

“SMOKEY SKIES: A time-lapse shows smoke hanging over Lake Tahoe on Tuesday,” shares CBS News. As the network states, “The Caldor Fire continues to grow near South Lake Tahoe, California… Reaching 191,607 acres (nearly 300 square miles),” at the time. “Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.”

At the time, California Fire Chief Chris Anthony would say California is “seeing larger and more destructive fires burn throughout California… On a much more frequent basis.

“Historically, we use the terms such as anomaly, unprecedented… Or extreme to describe the wildfires that we have seen burn throughout the state over the last 20 years,” Anthony adds. “But these terms are no longer appropriate with the clear trends with drought and changing climate,” he cites.

The focus within, however, is the horrific smoke that would suffocate California’s beloved Lake Tahoe during 2021.

CBS’s 41-second time-lapse shows the beautiful lake quickly transform. What was once a waterside paradise descends into a hellish post-apocalyptic landscape.

Dec. 8’s arrests may now mean this is all due to the actions of two men.