A man who taught criminal justice at Sonoma State University is accused of setting fires around the massive Dixie Fire and in Shasta County, California.
CBS Sacramento reports Gary Maynard, 47, was arrested on Saturday and is charged with setting fire to public land. He has also been accused of setting the ranch fire in Lassen County. The Daily Beast reported. “California Forestry Department agents arrested him Saturday. He is charged with intentionally setting fire to public land and is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Main Jail.” The fires that Maynard is accused of setting are close to the state’s Dixie Fire, which is barely over a quarter contained and has already destroyed a staggering 766 square miles of land, including nearly 550 homes.
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A federal criminal complaint shows that U.S. Forest Agents started investigating Maynard on July 20, the same day as the Cascade Fire. Investigators eventually placed a tracking device on his car after a witness at the fire claims they saw Maynard come from the area where the fire sparked. “Witness 1 believed the man was mentally unstable, describing the man as, ‘mumbling a lot and having bipolar-like behavior,’” the court documents detailed.
“Over the course of the last several weeks, Maynard has set a series of fires in the vicinity of the Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest,” assistant U.S. attorney Michael Anderson told Judge Kendall J. Newman. “The area in which Maynard chose to set his fires is near the ongoing Dixie fire, a fire which is still not contained despite the deployment and efforts of over 5,000 personnel.”