Man Admits To Starting Nearly A Dozen Fires In Northern California Forests
· May 25, 2022 ·

California is always a hot spot for wildfires, given its poor eco-management and dry climate.

It's hard enough to fight naturally occurring forest fires. But sometimes these fires aren't just natural, they're the result of a complete maniac.

A pyromaniac, to be specific.

In California, one specific man has just pleaded guilty to setting nearly a dozen fires in Northern California forests all by himself.

A man who set nearly a dozen wildfires in a Northern California national forest pleaded guilty Monday to being a serial arsonist.

Eric Michael Smith, 41, of Redding, entered guilty pleas to four counts of arson in a federal court in Sacramento but acknowledged setting other blazes in his plea agreement, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Under the agreement, prosecutors will recommend no more than a 33-month sentence. Smith could have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Court documents indicated that between June 2019 and July 2020, Smith lit at least 11 fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, many of them in the early morning hours.

Four counts of arson and he admitted to starting 11 different fires. And he did it over a one-year period. He continued to commit this crime.

And he's just getting 33 months? How can we trust this guy to let him out again?

"Smith used hard-to-detect ignition sources, such as cigarette lighters and handheld torches, to ignite these fires in remote locations," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

He'd take his lighter, sneak off into the woods, and secretly light the fires.

Why? What makes someone do something so damaging and potentially dangerous?

Fortunately, Smith wasn't successful in creating any of the huge blazes you see on the news.

The fires were quickly contained without causing any major damage or injuries but one shut down a freeway, authorities said.

Smith was arrested during an investigation into wildfires that had occurred over the past two years near a forest road north of Shasta Lake.

U.S. Forest Service and state fire investigators used hidden motion-detection cameras to identify a car and plant a tracking device on it, according to court records.

There is absolutely no sign that Smith would have stopped setting these fires if he hadn't been caught.

But at least he has been stopped and he's facing some sort of punishment for his crimes.

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