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Cause of Dog Rock Fire determined


The Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite National Park ignited from sparks generated by hot metal fragments from a vehicle, according to park spokesperson Kari Cobb.

The sparks may have come trailer safety chains dragging on the pavement, vehicle brake parts generating a spark or other sources.

The 245-acre fire broke out early Tuesday afternoon between the park boundary and Arch Rock Entrance Station. It continues to burn along Highway 140, east of El Portal. The highway is closed.

Crews had 10 percent containment as of Thursday morning.

A Cal Fire air tanker assigned to the fire crashed Tuesday afternoon, killing 62-year-old pilot Geoffrey "Craig" Hunt.


Dog Rock Fire in Yosemite burns 250 acres


Firefighters continue to fight the Dog Rock Fire burning in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday.

The 250-acre wildfire started around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at Dog Rock on El Portal Road between the park boundary and the Arch Rock Entrance Station. There is no estimate on the fire's containment.

Even though the fire grew 100 acres since Tuesday night, firefighters were able to keep the growth at a minimal, the National Park Service said. Favorable weather conditions helped crews battle the blaze.

The evacuation of about 60 homes from the Foresta community remains in effect. Highway 140 into the park remains closed, but the park and other roads into it are open to the public.

Pilot killed in air tanker crash near Yosemite identified


Cal Fire said a pilot was killed in an air tanker crash in Yosemite National Park Tuesday.

Wednesday, Cal Fire released the pilot's name. He was Geoffrey "Craig" Hunt, 62, of San Jose. Hunt had been with Dyncorp International for 13 years. Dyncorp is under contract with Cal Fire.

Hunt, flying a Cal Fire S-2T air tanker, was battling the Dog Rock Fire burning in the park when officials lost contact with the plane around 4:30 p.m., Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant said. Emergency personnel had to work through "extremely difficult terrain" in order to reach the crash site.

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Suspect being questioned for Modesto double murder


UPDATE: Modesto man arrested for double murder

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is questioning a suspect in the murder of a man and woman Sunday near the Tuolumne River.

The names of the suspect and the victims have not been released. However, police believe the victims had been homeless and living near the river.

Modesto man arrested for double murder


A Modesto man has been arrested for the shooting deaths of two people Sunday near the Tuolumne River.

Robert Leon Lynch, 74, is facing two charges of murder, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. He is accused of killing Cynthia Antrim, 30, and Chad Evert Romesha, 41, both of Modesto.

The sheriff's department said deputies were called to investigate a report of shots fired at about 11:17 a.m. Sunday in the 600 block of River Road. They arrived to find Antrim and Romesha shot; Antrim was pronounced dead at the scene, while Romesha died later at a local hospital, the sheriff's department said.

Lynch was located at the scene of the shooting when deputies arrived, the sheriff's department said. He was taken into custoday at that time.

145 pounds of meth seized in searches in Modesto, Brentwood


Law enforcement officials seized 145 pounds of methamphetamine Thursday while serving search warrants in Modesto and Brentwood.

Leonor Sarabia, 44, Estelo Chaidez, 34, and Humberto Olguin, 22, all of Modesto, were arrested for conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine for sales, transportation of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance while armed, according to the Modesto police. Vanessa Santos, 23, of Modesto, was arrested for child endangerment.

In addition to the methamphetamine, officers seized a half-pound of heroin and $6,000.

The arrests and seizures were made during searches conducted at 9 a.m. Thursday at two locations in Modesto and one location in Brentwood by the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. A press release from Modesto police did not identify the locations.

Motorcyclist dies after crash in Modesto


An 18-year-old Modesto resident died Thursday after the motorcycle he was riding collided with an SUV.

The name of the victim has not been released. Modesto police said he was riding a motorcycle north on Oakdale Road at about 9:47 p.m. Thursday when he struck an SUV that was turning from southbound Oakdale Road onto eastbound La Force Drive.

Witnesses performed CPR on the motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, police said. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.