Bail for the father and son accused of starting the Caldor Fire is being drastically reduced. A judge in Placerville made the decision Monday, slashing the $1 million bail for Travis and David Smith down to $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. The judge said there's no evidence that they acted maliciously and rejected most arguments that they are a flight risk. The Smiths' attorney, Mark Reichel, argued the men are lifelong residents of the area with no criminal history Reichel asked to have that reduced below $100,000 in a filing full of letters from community members supporting the two men. "Neither defendant is in any way a risk of flight," Reichel wrote. "Their ties are only to this community, and their ties are very strong."
The Caldor Fire began August 14 and burned for 67 days across El Dorado and Amador counties, destroying more than 1,000 structures and forcing 53,000 people from their homes. New details emerged in the bail hearing about how authorities believe the two men started the devastating blaze. “Investigators determined the Caldor Fire likely ignited when a projectile discharged from a firearm and struck an object, causing heated fragments of the projectile to land in a dry receptive fuel bed, igniting the fuels,” prosecutors alleged in a court filing. The prosecution estimates a maximum prison sentence of 14 years for Shane Smith and 12 years for David Smith.