KING CITY — King City resident Valerio Javier Perez Flores, 30, was sentenced April 23 to two years, plus eight months for a probation violation, in state prison for recklessly starting a fire.
On July 7, 2020, at 1:50 p.m., a California Highway Patrol officer observed a large cloud of smoke on the right shoulder of Highway 101 southbound near Main Street in Salinas. Upon arrival, the officer observed a male, later identified as Flores, standing near the fire.
Flores said he was homeless and lived at that location. He further said he lights fires every night to stay warm and cook his food. He confirmed he had a small fire during the evening and kept the fire going throughout the day, but the wind picked up and the fire got out of control next to his campsite.
Monterey County Judge Pamela Butler sentenced Flores to the middle term of two years for the 2020 incident. Since he was already on probation for recklessly starting a fire in October 2019, Butler added a consecutive eight months in state prison.