Man Sparked California’s Biggest Wildfire While He Was Trying to Kill a Wasp

A rancher never thought his innocent action to plug a wasp nest would lead to one of the most devastating wildfires in California.

Glenn Kile, a former heavy equipment operator, was hammering a metal stake in his backyard to snuff out a wasp nest, sending sparks towards dry grass stalks, as reported by The New York Times.

While Kile was judged responsible for the fire, he was believed to have not been negligent.

The grass stalks quickly caught fire and the flames swiftly spread, according to a report released by fire investigators.

“I smelled smoke, I turned around, and there it was,” Kile recalled. “There was nothing I could do.”  

The fire, occurring in the fall in 2018, tore through 410,203 acres of wild lands, destroying more than 150 homes and killing more than 80 people, including a firefighter.


Kile said he tried to put out the fire by throwing a trampoline and an old carpet on it.

The Cal Fire report also stated that the rancher unhooked his trailer and kicked up dirt ahead of it in a bid to stamp the fire out. But he lost control of the trailer, which rolled downhill.

Kile then decided to call 911. It took a month before thousands of firefighters extinguished the fire.

While Kile was judged responsible for the fire, he was believed to have not been negligent, making legal action inapplicable.


While the massive wildfire filled TV monitors with harrowing scenes, heartwarming stories of kindness also emerged.

Two-year-old Gracie Lutz melted hearts as she went around giving breakfast to the firefighters.

Her mother, Chelsey, captured her daughter's kindness in a video, which went viral on social media.

Chelsey's mother made the breakfast for the firefighters, while Chelsey and Gracie took on the task of handing out the meals at the local fairgrounds, where the overnight firefighting crew was just coming off their shift.

Little Gracie handed out the breakfast burritos wearing a red dress and a pair of cute rain boots, lighting up the faces of exhausted firefighters.

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