US Woodland hermit's cabin fire leads to state investigation
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CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office said Thursday it has opened an investigation into a fire that destroyed a small cabin where an off-the-grid hermit had lived for almost three decades.
David Lidstone, 81, lived in the woods along the Merrimack River and was known by locals as “River Dave.” He was jailed on July 15 on a civil contempt sanction and was told he'd be released if he agreed to leave the cabin, which is on property owned by a Vermont man who considers Lidstone a squatter.
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Fireafternoon. The fire marshal's office said it is investigating the blaze, but deferred questions to the Canterbury Fire Department. Lt. Dave Nelson of Canterbury Fire said he expects the investigation to take a few days and there were no updates available about its cause on Thursday.
“We just had the fire yesterday, it takes a while,” Nelson said.
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Two Northern California wildfires have destroyed dozens of homes, left people unaccounted for or injured and prompted additional evacuations Thursday—all in less than 48 hours. © Noah Berger/AP Flames from the Dixie Fire consume a pickup truck on Highway 89 south of Greenville on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Plumas County, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) The Dixie Fire -- California's largest active fire -- has destroyed "well over 100 homes" and is on its way to damage more structures, Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns said.
Lidstone, who is originally from Maine, lived on a woodlot located a few miles from Interstate 93 north of the state's capitol city of Concord. He told a judge during a Wednesday court appearance that he had no desire to comply with the order to leave the cabin. Most of his possessions were removed from it before the fire.
Lidstone's off-the-grid lifestyle has made him a folk hero in northern New England, and news of the cabin fire led to sadness and empathy among his supporters. Horace Clark, a cousin of Lidstone's who lives in Vermont, said the fire was “both sad and sick.”
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More than 12,000 people across eight California counties are currently under evacuation orders due to the 11 wildfires burning in the state, according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. © Noah Berger/AP A deer wanders among homes and vehicles destroyed by the Dixie Fire in the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) The majority of those evacuations were caused by the Dixie Fire burning in Northern California. It has forced more than 9,500 people to evacuate across Butte, Plumas, Lassen, and Tehama counties.