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Suspect in Refuge Fire not formally charged

YUMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Yuma man accused of setting over a thousand acres on fire near Martinez Lake is no longer facing any charges.

The Yuma County Attorney's Office had two days to review the evidence to see if they would formally charge the suspect on multiple felony counts including arson, but no complaints were filed meaning the suspect will remain free.

“Because no charges have been filed today all conditions of release previously imposed by the court must be removed," said Judge Gregory Stewart, Justice of the Peace #1.

The Refuge Fire sparked Saturday afternoon just north of Martinez Lake.

The Bureau of Land Management said the fire has burned around 1,041 acres and is 61% contained.

There are still more than 100 fire personnel on site.

Deputies shared new details Wednesday on the cause of the fire and how they located the man they believe is responsible.

“It is determined at this time that a person did initiate the fire due to a flare gun that was discharged recklessly," shared Tania Pavlak, Yuma County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) Public Affairs Specialist. “The suspect was still found on scene, he was actually found near the area it started at near a sandbar.” 

YCSO is not the only law enforcement agency looking into the fire.

“But there are other agencies that are conducting their own investIgations such as the Bureau of Land Management and US Game and Fish," explained Pavlak.

Formal charges were not filed but those could still come in the future.

For now, the suspect has been out on bond and will remain free.

For more information and updates on the fire, click HERE.

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Dillon Fuhrman

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Valeria Rodriguez

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