CALIFORNIA, (KTXL) — On Wednesday, CAL FIRE released their most recent numbers for arson arrests across the state showing that rising arrests have continued into 2022.
As of Oct. 31, CAL FIRE has made 151 arson arrests statewide, surpassing the 149 statewide arrests in 2021.
Over the last seven years arson arrests by CAL FIRE have been on a steady increase with the largest jump between 2019 (70 arrests) and 2020 (120 arrests).
In June FOX40 News interviewed CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Staff Chief Gianni Mushcetto about why the agency is seeing an increase in arson arrests.
“CAL FIRE has continued to quickly and aggressively investigate all fires and ensure our law enforcement officers respond when available,” Muschetto said. “This has allowed us to identify arson caused fires and suspects and take quick action to prevent further arson fires.”
Muschetto said that arson accounts for 10% of wildland fires each year.
On July 11, Sandy Sims was arrested by CAL FIRE Law Enforcement after she was found in connection with wildland fires in the West Point area.
Sims was arrested on four counts of arson to wildland and four counts of arson during a state of emergency.
An Auburn man was arrested on Aug. 22 after being found in connection to a wildland fire in Sierra County, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.
Dillion Schneider, a water truck driver, was found to have started the Berry Fire after a search of his vehicle found evidence showing that he started the fire.
Schneider was placed in the Nevada County Jail on suspicion of arson, possession of an incendiary device, a prohibited person possessing ammunition and a firearm and possession of stolen property.
Of the 149 arson arrests made in 2021, 103 were found to be related to wildland fires, according to CAL FIRE.
“These arrests are important because they immediately stop the threat of additional fires being started in the current fire season,” Muschetto said. “Additionally, others that may commit arson, may be deterred because they see that fires are investigated and arrests made for arson.”