In 4 Wildfires, Retired California Professor Charged On Arson Attacks.

In 4 Wildfires, Retired California Professor Charged On Arson Attacks.

Prosecutors said, “A former California professor accused of setting a series of wildfires near where the massive Dixie Fire was burning this year was indicted Thursday on federal charges.”

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said, Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose, was indicted on four counts of arson to federal property and one count of setting timber afire.”

He is not involved in setting the Dixie Fire but is involved in setting four fires in July and August in the region where firefighters were battling it.

Prosecutors have said, “Two of the fires, which were caught quickly, were set behind fire lines where crews were fighting the Dixie Fire and could have trapped them.”

A public defender listed as representing Maynard did not immediately return a request for comment late Thursday.

According to the documents, “Court documents do not appear to detail a motive. Maynard, who was arrested in August, denied setting any fires to investigators.”

Maynard has, at times, been an adjunct faculty member and part-time lecturer at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University, but not recently, the universities have said.

According to court documents, “At the time of the arsons, he was living in his car.”

He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count of arson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to fire officials, ” The Dixie Fire would become the second-largest in recorded state history, burning more than 963,000 acres. The fire started on July 13 and was fully contained on Oct. 25. The cause is under investigation.”

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