A Santa Margarita resident pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge alleging he caused the Hill Fire, which burned about 1,600 acres just outside the small North County community between Parkhill and Huer Huero Road in June.
The fire destroyed four homes, including one owned by “Big Bang Theory” actor Johnny Galecki.
Last month, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed a single misdemeanor charge of recklessly causing a fire of a structure or forest against David Lynn Macagni, 75, who lives on Parkhill Road. Macagni is listed on Megan’s Law sex offender registry.
Cal Fire announced in a July news release that the agency’s preliminary findings indicated the Hill Fire was unintentionally started by a vehicle fire that spread to nearby vegetation. Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth did not immediately respond late Thursday to a request for further information about the case.
The misdemeanor charge carries a sentence of up to one year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine. It was not clear Thursday how much monetary damage the Hill Fire caused.
The fire broke out June 26 near Parkhill Road and Rue de Leon and quickly burned across the dry brush, claiming 1,200 acres by the next morning.
By the time it was extinguished three days later, the fire had destroyed four structures, including the ranch home of Galecki, who plays Dr. Leonard Hofstadter on “Big Bang Theory” and was a regular on the sitcom “Roseanne.”
Despite the loss, Galecki posted a picture on Instagram thanking Cal Fire firefighters for their service.
Macagni is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on April 11.