SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment against a former Santa Clara University professor on chargers of arson to federal property and setting timber on fire, acting U.S. Attorney Philip A. Talbert announced Thursday.
According to court documents, 47-year-old Gary Stephen Maynard allegedly engaged in an arson spree near the then ongoing Dixie Fire, located in areas of the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the Lessen National Forest.
Some of the fires Maynard set were new fires behind firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire.
Maynard is being charged with allegedly setting the Cascade Fire on July 20, the Everitt Fire on July 21, and the Ranch and Conard Fire on August 7.
The investigation led by the U.S. Forest Service, in assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol, and the Lessen County Sheriff’s Department.
If convicted, Maynard could face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of arson, totaling an estimated $1 million in fines.
Arson to federal property carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.