Man charged with 17 counts of arson as wildfire decimates Northern California town

 Man charged with 17 counts of arson as wildfire decimates Northern California town

16 August 2016

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USA — A California man was arrested Monday on arson charges for allegedly sparking a wildfire that exploded over the weekend, destroying more than 175 homes, businesses and other structures in a small town, authorities said.

Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake was arrested Monday on 17 counts of arson and is in jail. He is suspected in numerous fires in Lake County over the past year.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said the blaze in the town of Lower Lake has caused over $10 million in damages and left dozens of families homeless.

“Mr. Pashilk committed a horrific crime and we will seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. My thoughts continue to be with the people of Lake County during this difficult time,” Pimlott said.

The inferno has spread more than six square miles in the Lower Lake area about 90 miles north of San Francisco. As of late Monday, the fire was only 5 percent contained. But fire officials insisted that no other structures were under direct threat from the out-of-control flames.

Firefighters aren’t getting any help in trying to tame the blaze. The weather forecast called for temperatures to reach the upper 90s in the days to come, with no rain in sight. A heave wave and gusty winds also put Southern California on high fire alert.

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