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Press Release

Professor-Arsonist Indicted for Setting Fires Behind Firefighters Fighting Dixie Fire

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment today against Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose, charging him with arson to federal property and setting timber afire, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Maynard engaged in an arson spree in the vicinity of the then ongoing Dixie Fire in areas of the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the Lassen National Forest. Some of the fires Maynard set were new fires behind the firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire. Maynard is charged with setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20), the Everitt Fire (July 21), the Ranch Fire (Aug. 7), and the Conard Fire (Aug. 7).

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, which received assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol, and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Anderson is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Maynard faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of arson. Arson to federal property carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 30, 2024