Prosecutor: Man Accused of Starting Clayton Fire Linked to 12 Other Fires

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LOWER LAKE (AP) -- A man accused of starting a wildfire that destroyed 175 homes and other structures north of San Francisco has been charged with 14 counts of arson in connection with 12 separate fires dating back to July 2015 and one count of attempted arson.

Defendant Damin Pashilk made his first court appearance Wednesday and did not enter a plea.

The 40-year-old former construction worker turned his head away from television cameras in the courtroom during his arraignment in Lake County.

The most serious fire involved in the charges began Saturday and ripped through the working-class town of Lower Lake.

Most of the other fires were quickly extinguished or didn't spread. One burned a couple of acres and an uninhabited mobile home.

Pashilk's attorney, David Markham, said after the hearing that he had been told Pashilk passed out before his court appearance. The lawyer urged people to remember his client is presumed innocent.