A California high school Professor has been arrested, charged with arson in connection with one of a series of suspected arson attacks to burn near the mass of the state Dixie Fire, authorities said, according to reports.
Gary Maynard, 47, reportedly taught courses at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University, Sacramento’s FOX 40 reported, citing information from Maynard’s bio page on the Sonoma State website.
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That page didn’t work Tuesday night.
Maynard faced accusations of arson in connection with the Ranch Fire and unauthorized entry into a closed-off area, FOX 40 reported. He was arrested Saturday after an investigation that began in July, the station said.
DIXIE BRAND BECOMES BIGGEST ANKLE WILDFIRE IN CALIFORNI HISTORY
Court documents show that the Ranch Fire and six other fires started between July 6 and August 7 near Lassen National Forest and Shasta-Trinity National Forest, both in Northern California. The three most recent fires, including the Ranch Fire, started in the area of the Dixie Fire, the report said.
“The area in which Maynard chose to light his fires is near the ongoing Dixie Fire, a fire that is still out of control despite the efforts and efforts of more than 5,000 personnel,” wrote assistant attorney at law for the US Michael Anderson in a memo, according to FOX 40. .
Anderson argued that Maynard should remain in custody pending further legal action.
Investigators tracked Maynard by tracking his cell phone and car, court documents say.
“Agents had a tracker installed on his vehicle,” Anderson wrote. ‘Wherever Maynard went, fires started. Not once, but again and again.’
Maynard was listed by Sonoma State as a criminal law studies professor but was no longer affiliated with the university, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“He was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,” a Sonoma State spokeswoman wrote in an email to the Bee. He was employed by Sonoma State University in the fall of 2020, but did not have an appointment for the spring of 2021.
“Mr. Maynard was hired to fill in for a faculty member on leave. He delivered two seminars in Criminology and Criminal Law Studies in the fall of 2020.”
Santa Clara University also confirmed Maynard had worked there, the Bee reported.
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“Gary Maynard was an adjunct faculty member in the sociology department at Santa Clara University from September 2019 to December 2020,” the university told the newspaper in an email.
Maynard faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in connection with the Ranch Fire. the bee reported.
The Dixie Fire, which began on July 13, is now the largest in California history. It has burned in four counties – Butte, Plumas, Tehama and Lassen.
The Dixie Fire was 25% under control Tuesday morning, SFGate.com reported:.