Suspect In 2012 Creek County Wildfires Is Arrested
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma -
Creek County authorities have arrested the suspect in the 2012 wildfires, which devastated the area and left scars on the landscape still visible four years later.
Billy Cloud was arrested at his mother's house near Highway 48 and is in the Creek County jail, officials say. According to the Creek County Sheriff's Office, Cloud was arrested as part of a warrant sweep by the CCSO and the Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force.
Cloud was charged with third-degree arson in 2012 and is accused of tossing a lighted cigarette onto the dry vegetation during a statewide burn ban.
Read the detailed information sheet filed by an investigating deputy
The felony arson charge states Cloud willfully and maliciously caused the burning in excess of 50,000 acres and numerous residences and other structures, with a value of more than $1 million.
The wildfires burned for six days, scorching 90 square miles and destroying nearly 400 homes in the path. Several towns were evacuated and relief efforts continued for more than a year.
Upon his arrest, Cloud told investigators he fled the area soon after and spend time in the Tulsa area and Oklahoma City before finally returning to Creek County, a release says.
According to the Creek County Sheriff's Office, Cloud was booked on an arson charge and is being held on a $40,000 bond.
The release says a total of 24 people were arrested during the sweep and multiple warrants were cleared.