[Net-Gold] CRIME AND CRIMINALS: ARSON : ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE : UNITED STATES: STATES: CALIFORNIA: Man Arrested on Suspicion of Arson in Wildfire that has Devastated Northern California Community

 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: ARSON :

ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE :

UNITED STATES: STATES: CALIFORNIA:

Man Arrested on Suspicion of Arson in Wildfire
that has Devastated Northern California Community

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Man Arrested on Suspicion of Arsonin Wildfire
that has Devastated Northern California Community

Paige St. John and Hailey Branson-Potts

August 15, 2016

Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/ la-me-lake-county-fires-20160815-snap-story.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/h96d2xs

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Residents of Lake County were just beginning to recover from a deadly series of wildfires that destroyed more than a thousand homes last summer when a firestorm this weekend blazed a new path of destruction and despair through the rural pocket of Northern California.

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The 4,000-acre Clayton fire  which authorities said late Monday was arson spread with frightening speed through the small town of Lower Lake on the southern edge of Clear Lake, ravaging Main Street and wiping out much of its small commercial district.

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Thousands of people  some of them already dubbed fire survivors after last year  fled as they awaited word on whether their homes and businesses were still standing. By Monday afternoon, the fire had destroyed at least 175 structures and threatened 1,500 more, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was only 5% contained.

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Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said late Monday that Damin Pashilk, a resident of nearby Clearlake, had been arrested and booked on multiple counts of arson in connection with the Clayton fire and other fires in the area during the last year.

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For some evacuees at the shelter in Middletown, the arrest of Pashilk was the first good news in days, and the crowd burst into applause.

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At Hardesters Market & Hardware in Middletown, clerks on Monday said they had already met their first double-fire survivors: a family burned out of Middletown by the Valley fire just lost their new home in Lower Lake right up the road.

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We were just starting to recover, lamented store owner Ross Hardester. The area got through those first bleak months and was starting to see permits being issued and new homes going up on charred lots.

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Now this, Hardester said. So many people are on edge again.

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The ferocious spread of the Clayton fire offers fresh evidence of how five years of unrelenting drought in California leave the state particularly vulnerable to destructive wildfires this year. Wildfires this year have already burned more than 360 square miles and destroyed more than 400 homes and other structures.

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Major fires have hit across the state including San Diego, Kern, Monterey, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties, fueled by bone-dry brush and, in some area, miles of dead or dying trees. Fire officials are warning the worst might still be ahead in Southern California, where the traditional fire season  fueled by hot Santa Ana winds  doesnt begin until the fall.

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But the situation in the Lake County area is particularly troubling given the devastating fires that hit the same area last year. Together, the Rocky, Jerusalem and Valley fires burned more than 170,000 acres and destroyed more than a thousand homes. The Valley fire killed four people.

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Emotions are significantly raw from the Valley fire, said state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) at a fire briefing in the town of Middletown, which was devastated 11 months ago by the fire, one of the most destructive in state history. This is the last thing we needed in the county of Lake.

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snip

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Pashilk, 40, faces 17 counts of arson in connection with the Clayton fire and other recent fires. He was being held in the county jail, according to the sheriff.

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Extreme heat and low humidity, combined with drought-dried brush, fueled the fires growth, and it doubled in size Sunday as it reached Main Street in Lower Lake, officials said.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
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Temple University
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jwne@temple.edu
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