Mariposa & Yosemite

Merced man pleads no contest to setting Mariposa blaze

The Merced man who sparked the Telegraph fire this summer pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges earlier this week.

Davin Craig Mosher, 29, will probably face community service for starting the 34,000-acre fire that burned 30 homes, Mariposa County District Attorney Bob Brown said Friday.

Brown told the judge he didn't want a prison sentence, which could be about 18 months.

"This thing was really just a careless act as opposed to a reckless act," the district attorney said.

Mosher, charged with carelessly starting a fire and having an unregistered assault rifle, pleaded Monday before what was set to be an arraignment, Brown said.

He had spent July 25 shooting rifles in the Merced River canyon, and one of the bullets lit the dry grass on fire.

Mosher ran to his grandfather's home nearby to and drove around trying to get cell phone access to call firefighters, Brown said.

The state estimates the cost of fighting the fire at $37 million. Mosher may be held liable for civil penalties.

The judge is set to sentence Mosher on Dec. 4.

-- Scott Jason