Fire investigators figured out pretty quickly where the fire started.
"It wasn’t too hard to determine what was going on."
Cal Fire spokeswoman Barbara George.
"The cause of the fire has been determined as an illegal marijuana (grove) that was apparently in the midst of being harvested."
She says the growers abandoned their harvest and left some guns behind. The so-called Italian Fire burned 100 acres of rugged terrain and prompted the evacuation of about 25 homes.
Gordon Taylor with the U-S Drug Enforcement Administration says marijuana farms are a growing problem in California. The seizure of outdoor marijuana plants more than doubled in California between 2004 and 2006. Taylor says many of these groves are close to recreational areas.
"So if a hiker just happens to stumble into one of these grows, there’s a very high likelihood that they could be held at gunpoint…not to mention the fire danger that comes along with these outdoor grows."
Authorities are still looking for the suspected marijuana growers.