Cochise County Sheriff Dever says illegal immigrants likely started Monument Fireby Hugh Holub on Jun. 22, 2011, under border issues, politics
From Arizona Daily Star June 21, 2011:
By Brady McCombs
As I wrote about last week, the Monument Fire is the third major Southern Arizona fire this summer that started in rugged, mountainous corridors frequently used by people and drug smugglers. That’s led to speculation that some, or all, of these fires may have been caused by illegal immigrants or smugglers.
That speculation was brought to the national stage last weekend by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when he said that there was “substantial evidence” that border crossers were partly responsible for wildfires in the state. Despite being blasted by critics including Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., that he was “provoking an extreme anti-immigrant and anti-Latino atmosphere in Arizona,” McCain stood behind his comments.
On Tuesday at a press conference, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever backed McCain’s assertion when asked about the origin of the Monument Fire burning south of Sierra Vista at a Tuesday morning press conference. While acknowledging that anything is a possibility outside of lightning, Dever said he believes it was most likely started by smugglers or illegal immigrants, according to this Reuters story and this KVOA story.
In support of the claim that smugglers or illegal immigrants started the Monument Fire, the following photo was provided:
Aftermath of Murphy Fire