Former university professor in charge of setting up a fire in California

San Francisco (AP) — Former university professor alleged that a federal grand jury threatened to trap firefighters in four wildfires in Northern California earlier this year when fighting a large fire nearby. Was charged, the federal prosecutor said.

A 47-year-old Gary Stephen Maynard will be fined up to 20 years in prison and $ 250,000 for each arson, a US law firm in eastern California said in a statement.

According to court documents, Maynard’s arson case included a flame that ignited behind a crew member fighting a wildfire in Oroville, California’s second-largest wildfire in July and August. rice field. structure.

According to federal prosecutors, San Jose resident Maynard had four fires, the Cascade and Everit fires on July 20 and 21, and the ranch and Conard fires on August 7.

US Forestry agents began investigating Maynard on July 20, after a cascade fire was reported on the western slopes of Mount Shasta.

According to court documents, investigators found Maynard under a black Kia car with a front wheel stuck in a ditch and a substructure in the center of the rock.

The next day, a second fire broke out on Mount Shasta, and investigators later discovered tire marks similar to those of Kia.

According to investigators, Maynard put the tracking device under the car after being suspended by police on August 3. Following his movement for hundreds of miles, Maynard moved to a ranch and Conad fire area in the Lassen National Forest.

“Maynard seemed to be in the midst of arson,” court documents said.

Maynard denied lighting, court documents say. It wasn’t immediately clear if there was a lawyer who could speak for him.

Maynard seems to have taught briefly at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University. There, Gary Maynard was listed as a lecturer in criminal justice research specializing in criminal justice, cults, and deviant behavior. He is no longer in either school.

Maynard has been detained until trial, the US law firm said.

US lawyer Assistant Michael Anderson wrote in a detention memo in August that Maynard entered the evacuation zone and “began to set fire behind the first responders to fight Dixie’s fire.”

In addition to the risk of spreading the Dixie fire and threatening more life and property, “this increased the risk to the first responder,” Anderson said.