california local news

Former college professor sentenced for arson spree as crews fought Dixie Fire

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

INVESTIGATION. A FORMER CRIMINOLOGY PROFESSOR FROM THE BAY AREA HAS NOW BEEN SENTENCED FOR SETTING A SERIES OF FIRES BEHIND FIREFIGHTERS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE DIXIE FIRE. NOW, THAT FIRE WAS SPARKED BY PG&E POWER LINES BACK ON JULY 13TH IN THE FEATHER RIVER CANYON. IT BURNED NEARLY 1 MILLION ACRES IN BUTTE, PLUMAS, LASSEN, SHASTA AND TEHAMA COUNTIES. PROSECUTORS SAY 49 YEAR OLD GARY MAYNARD OF SAN JOSE WENT ON AN ARSON SPREE WHILE THE WILDFIRE WAS BURNING AND ONE OF THE STATE’S WORST FIRE SEASONS IN THE YEAR IN HISTORY. THEY SAY HE INTENTIONALLY SET FOUR FIRES BEHIND THE FIREFIGHTERS, WHICH HAD THE POTENTIAL TO CUT OFF ESCAPE ROUTES. WITNESSES TIPPED OFF THE FOREST SERVICE AND MAYNARD IS NOW SENTENCED TO MORE THAN FIVE YEARS IN PRISON. HE HAD WORKED AS

Advertisement

Former college professor sentenced for arson spree as crews fought Dixie Fire

KCRA logo

Updated: 2:30 PM PDT May 31, 2024

A former college professor has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison over a string of arson fires in Northern California in 2021 as fire crews were battling the second-largest fire in the state’s history.Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, of San Jose, pleaded guilty in February to three arson counts in connection to fires in the Shasta National Forest and near the Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest.The Dixie Fire burned over 1,500 square miles after igniting on July 13 and destroyed over 1,000 homes. Maynard was accused of setting fires behind firefighters battling the Dixie Fire. According to the Justice Department, Maynard admitted to starting the Cascade Fire on July 20, 2021, and the Everett Fire the following day. He also admitted to sparking the Ranch Fire and Conard Fire on Aug. 7 that year. Investigators arrested Maynard after putting a tracking device under his car. The Associated Press reported he was a former lecturer on criminal justice issues at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University for a period. Maynard faced the possibility of up to 20 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Besides the prison sentence of more than five years, he was ordered to pay $13,081 in restitution. | MORE | California regulators agree on $45 million penalty for PG&E’s involvement with 2021 Dixie Fire

A former college professor has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison over a string of arson fires in Northern California in 2021 as fire crews were battling the second-largest fire in the state’s history.

Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, of San Jose, pleaded guilty in February to three arson counts in connection to fires in the Shasta National Forest and near the Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest.

Advertisement

The Dixie Fire burned over 1,500 square miles after igniting on July 13 and destroyed over 1,000 homes. Maynard was accused of setting fires behind firefighters battling the Dixie Fire.

According to the Justice Department, Maynard admitted to starting the Cascade Fire on July 20, 2021, and the Everett Fire the following day. He also admitted to sparking the Ranch Fire and Conard Fire on Aug. 7 that year.

Investigators arrested Maynard after putting a tracking device under his car. The Associated Press reported he was a former lecturer on criminal justice issues at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University for a period.

Maynard faced the possibility of up to 20 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Besides the prison sentence of more than five years, he was ordered to pay $13,081 in restitution.

| MORE | California regulators agree on $45 million penalty for PG&E’s involvement with 2021 Dixie Fire

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.