Sheriff agrees with McCain about possible cause of wildfire

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by Alicia E. Barrón

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on June 22, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 22 at 9:14 PM

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) - An Arizona sheriff whose territory includes an 80-mile stretch of the U.S-Mexico border backed up Sen. John McCain's assertion that illegal immigrants are often responsible for setting wildfires.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever went a step further to say on Wednesday that he firmly believes that illegal immigrants started the 42-square-mile Monument Fire burning outside of Sierra Vista.

Coronado Forest spokeswoman Heidi Schewel declined to say whether investigators believe the human-caused fire was started by illegal immigrants.

McCain has faced criticism for making a statement last weekend when touring a large wildfire in eastern Arizona that there was "substantial evidence" that border crossers were partly responsible for wildfires in the state.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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