A former faculty professor has been charged with beginning 4 wildfires in northern California.
It’s alleged that Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, ignited blazes in July and August which might have trapped crews as they fought the Dixie Fire – the second-biggest wildfire in state historical past.
Greater than 6,000 firefighters battled the flames, which destroyed greater than 1,000 properties, companies and different constructions.
Maynard is accused of setting the Cascade and Everitt fires, on 20 and 21 July, and the Ranch and Conard Fires on 7 August.
Investigators adopted Maynard’s black Kia Soul automotive as they pursued their inquiries.
Brokers with the US Forest Service began investigating him after the Cascade Fire was reported on the western slopes of Mount Shasta.
In line with court docket papers, Maynard was discovered underneath the automotive, its entrance wheels caught in a ditch and its undercarriage on a boulder.
When a second fireplace erupted on Mount Shasta the next day, investigators apparently discovered tyre tracks just like these made by the Kia.
After Maynard was stopped briefly by police on 3 August, a tracker was positioned underneath his automotive.
His actions have been then adopted for a whole lot of miles. Investigators mentioned he travelled to the realm the place the Ranch and Conard Fires erupted within the Lassen Nationwide Forest.
“It appeared that Maynard was in the midst of an arson-setting spree,” court docket papers mentioned.
He faces as much as 20 years in jail and a $250,000 (£186,000) fantastic for every rely of arson to federal property, the US Legal professional’s Workplace for the Jap District of California mentioned in a press release.
He has denied setting the blazes, court docket papers added, and is in custody pending trial.
In August, assistant US legal professional Michael Anderson wrote in a detention memo that Maynard had entered the evacuation zone and “began setting fires behind the first responders fighting the Dixie Fire”.
This “increased the danger to the first responders”, Mr Anderson added.
Maynard seems to have taught briefly at Santa Clara College and Sonoma State College, the place a Gary Maynard was listed as a lecturer in prison justice research specialising in prison justice, cults and deviant behaviour.
He’s now not with both establishment.
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