SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – A professor was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday in connection with setting several wildfires in Northern California over the summer.
According to acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert’s office, 47-year-old Gary Stephen Maynard faces four counts of arson to federal property and setting timber afire. If convicted, Maynard faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.READ MORE: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
Federal prosecutors said Maynard took part in an “arson spree” near where the massive Dixie Fire burned in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the Lassen National Forest.
Maynard is accused of setting the Cascade Fire on July 20 and the Everitt Fire on July 21, both in Siskiyou County. He is also accused of starting the Ranch Fire and Conard Fire in Lassen County on August 7.READ MORE: UPDATE: News Crew Security Guard Shot in Oakland Dies From Injuries; Photo of Suspect Vehicle Released
Some of the fires Maynard is accused of setting were behind firefighters battling the Dixie Fire, prosecutors said. One of the largest wildfires in state history, the Dixie Fire burned nearly 1 million acres and the first known to have burned across the crest of the Sierra Nevada.
Maynard has previously taught criminal justice at Sonoma State University and has ties to Santa Clara University. He also had lived in San Jose.MORE NEWS: Burlingame Shoppers Show Up for Small Business Saturday
According to jail records, Maynard remains in the Sacramento Main Jail without bail. It was not immediately known when he would appear in court on the charges.