Inside the Bully Fire

The video is a little shaky, I know. Consider it a lesson learned: Next time I hoof it an hour plus into a remote fire zone, I’ll bring a tripod.

The Bully Fire near Ono was one of the first during the summer season in 2014, sparked off near the town of Ono in Northern California allegedly by a pot grower driving fertilizer to a rural grow site in the foothills of the Trinity Mountains. It burned about 20 square miles over the course of a month before being fully contained.

One man died in the fire – Jesus Arellano Garcia, 38, of Michoacán, Mexico – shortly after the fire start ripped up a nearby watershed on a property where he was working to repair a fence. It took the county’s coroner’s office more than three months to positively identify the charred remains, but through public records and sheriff’s dispatch logs the Record Searchlight tracked down friends and family that remembered the then unknown man in life.

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Clay Duda is a freelance journalist specializing in investigative reporting, feature writing, editorial photography, and digital media.