Cal Fire worries wildfire arson cases are on the rise
OAKLAND, Calif. - Cal Fire investigators say they are seeing an increase in arson arrests with some of those suspects accused of starting this year's largest wildfires.
In just the last two years alone, Cal Fire says they've arrested hundreds of people on arson charges.
But these are difficult cases, they say, because arson is hard to prove in court.
This year alone, at least two people from the Bay Area have been accused of setting a wildfire.
Investigators announced charges last week against 30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva from Palo Alto, who is charged with starting the Fawn Fire in Shasta County. She has since plead not guilty.
Last month, Cal Fire also arrested former Sonoma County State University Professor Gay Maynard, accused of starting fires near the Dixie Fire.
"What we're seeing this year is we're seeing fires really having potential for becoming large and destructive in a very short period of time," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie. "Any time somebody sees someone suspicious and has a thought that they may be starting a fire, please do the right thing. Call 911. Get the authorities involved."
Cal fire says they arrested 120 people last year for suspected arson and they are on track to see that number increase.
This year alone, investigators have arrested 109 people.
Cal Fire says these numbers are alarming considering the drought conditions and how fast and dangerously these fires can grow.
At this time, officials say they are not sure why arson is on the rise.