A judge set $5M bail for California arsonist who is suspected of setting “numerous” wildfires in Northern California. One of the fires was set just last weekend in Clayton and has already burned over 4,000 acres and destroyed 175 structures. The suspect, Damin Anthony Pashilk is facing 15 felonies and 4 misdemeanors related to 13 fires he allegedly set.
Pashilk’s litany of charges stem from his alleged activities over the past 2 years. During this period, it’s believed he started or attempted to start fires on 11 different days. 5 of these fires were started recently, between August 9 and August 12, while the others were set in July and August of 2015.
This news comes on the heels of the Bluecut fire that’s already burned over 30,000 acres in the San Bernardino area, and forced the evacuations of 82,000 people. Typically, when a person thinks natural disasters in California, they think earthquakes. Though they’re certainly devastating in their own right, the wildfires can wreak just as much havoc – if not more – and are all too common.
To fight the raging Bluecut blaze, over 1,300 firefighters, 8 air tankers, 2 very large air tankers (VLATS) and 8 helicopters are currently being used to fight the fire. According to officials, the fire came out of nowhere and, thanks to Southern California’s dry climate, spread at blistering speed. Personnel continue to try and contain the blaze.
As one can probably imagine, arson is a very serious and dangerous crime in California. It’s covered under California Penal Code 451 PC and is described as willfully and maliciously setting any building, forest, or land on fire. If the fire is started without malicious intent, but in a reckless manner, it’s covered under California Penal Code 452: reckless burning.
451 PC is always a felony in California, and the possible penalties include 16 months to 8 years in California state prison (or 9 years if someone is injured as a result of the blaze), and a possible fine of up to $10,000.