FIRE: Former Professor Indicted For Setting Wildfires Near The Dixie Fire In California

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Exhibit 2 in the Gary Maynard Detention Memo, showing the Ranch Fire shortly after it was discovered. Gary Maynard and three other people were charged with the starting of the fire. Photo courtesy US Attorney’s Office.

A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment November 18 against Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose, charging him with arson to federal property and setting timber afire, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents Maynard was involved in an arson spree within the vicinity of the ongoing Dixie Fire , in areas of Shasta-Trinity National Forests. Some of the fires that he started were behind firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire. Maynard is charged with setting the Cascade Fire (July 20), Everitt Fire (July 21), Ranch Fire (Aug. 7), and Conard Fire (Aug. 7).

He was not charged with the Dixie Fire’s start, but was investigated to see if he was responsible for five other Dixie Fire starts. They were all suppressed before growing large, in part because for some of them his vehicle was being tracked and after obtaining warrants arson investigators had access to the approximate location of his cell phone every 15 seconds. In some cases, US Forest Service Agents were the first to report the new fires and they did everything possible to put out the flames until firefighters arrived.

Mr. Maynard was a former instructor at California universities, including Santa Clara State and Sonoma State.

From CNN:

Maynard was a part-time lecturer at Sonoma State University in its Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice during the fall of 2020, a university spokesperson told CNN. According to school officials, he taught two seminars about criminal justice and deviant behaviour. Maynard was filling in for a faculty member who was on leave and was not reappointed for Spring 2021, the school spokesperson said.

Sonoma State University welcomed him as a new lecturer on August 31, 2020. Their description:

Dr. Gary Maynard graduated from Bowling Green State University, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Stony Brook University. He holds three master’s degrees (political science and theater arts) as well as a Ph.D. degree in sociology. His research and teaching interests include sociology/social media, sociology and deviance and criminality, sociology and sociology for youth and adolescents, global sociology, environmental and sociological sociology, sociology and sports, and the sociology and abuse of drugs and alcoholism.

More information about the four fires is in our August 11, 2021 article.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. View all posts by Bill Gabbert

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