The Washington Times reports an illegal alien pleaded guilty to causing a fire in the Sequoia National Forest last year that will scar the landscape for decades. The fire occurred after the alien’s release from jail, which was not reported to ICE due to California’s sanctuary law known as the TRUST Act.
Angel Gilberto Garcia-Avalos had been deported five times in the past four years, but continued to return and commit crimes. His criminal record includes auto theft, burglary and firearms convictions. Several months ago, Garcia was due for release after spending about six months in Kern County jail. The County would have normally reported the upcoming release of a criminal alien like Garcia to ICE so he could be picked up and deported. But the County was forced to release Garcia to the streets because the California TRUST Act prohibits such cooperation with federal immigration agents.
In August, Garcia was driving on a rough dirt trail in the Sequoia National Forest when he decided to drive over a berm. He ended up hitting a tree and his car’s muffler sparked the dry grass underneath. The subsequent fire burnt 29,000 acres and took six weeks to contain at a cost of $60 million. The Sequoia National Park, famous for its giant Sequoia trees, escaped the blaze.
An endangered species specialist with the Forest Service, John Chatel, said the ongoing drought will make it difficult for the forest to recover. He told The Washington Times “It’s got to be really challenging — not impossible, but challenging — for a lot of the forest that was there historically to come back in a reasonable amount of time….It’s going to take decades and decades from a conifer standpoint to get back what you lost.” Chatel requested $500,000 for emergency restoration, but that does not include revegetation costs or the restoration of campsites and cattle-grazing areas.
Read more in The Washington Times.
Updated: Wed, Nov 9th 2016 @ 1:55pm EST