The fire destroyed several homes and burned more than 22,000 acres, his office said.
Cal Fire determined that the cause of the fire was a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device.”
The couple pleaded not guilty during their arraignments on Tuesday. They were released under their own guarantee until their next scheduled hearing in September, Anderson said.
CNN contacted an attorney for the couple, but received no response.
There is no sign of an end to California’s devastating wildfires
“Obviously, you are dealing with lost lives, you are dealing with injured lives and you are dealing with the residences of the people that were burned and their lands that were burned,” Anderson said.
That encompasses a lot, not just emotion, but damage, both financially and psychologically. “
The charges were filed after a grand jury heard 34 witness interviews over four days, he said.
Ultimately, 434 pieces of evidence were presented to the grand jury, leading to the indictment opened Tuesday, which includes one felony count of manslaughter, three felony counts of recklessly setting a fire with major injuries. corporal, four counts of felony reckless arson. inhabited structures and 22 misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing a fire on someone else’s property, Anderson said.
The fire “had a tremendous impact on the San Bernardino community,” Anderson said, adding that at least six agencies “were involved in containing, extinguishing and investigating” the deadly fire.
Couple accused of firefighter death
Firefighter Charles Morton, a Big Bear Interagency Hotshot squad leader, was fighting the El Dorado Fire when he was killed, CNN previously reported.
The 39-year-old “died while participating in firefighting operations,” the US Forest Service said in a news release after his death.
Hotshots are the firefighters on the front line who walk directly into a dangerous fire on steep terrain to strategically plan the best course of action to deal with the flames.
Morton had worked as a firefighter for 18 years, including 14 years in the Forest Service, according to the statement.
“Charlie was a highly respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew during the most difficult times,” US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said in the statement.
“Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, co-workers, friends, and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
Anderson said Tuesday that part of the reason the investigation and final prosecution took so long was because authorities wanted to ensure full justice was served.
“Given the scope and impact of the El Dorado fire on the land and lives of so many people, particularly Charles Morton and his family, it was imperative that all investigations be completed at both federal and state agencies to provide a presentation complete and fair to members of our community, “explained Mr. Anderson.