AP PHOTOS - NO ACCESS CANADA/BROADCAST USE ONLY/STRICTLY NO ACCESS ONLINE OR MOBILE
Middletown, California - 15 August 2016
1. Still of Damin Pashlik
Lakeport, California - 16 August 2016
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Martin, Lake County Sheriff:
"Last night we announced the arrest of an arson suspect. He was arrested on 17 counts of arson. Obviously the Clayton Fire is one of those counts of arson. We're actively working on the investigation. Cal Fire has taken the lead on this. They developed information that lead up to his arrest. We're working closely with the District Attorney's office to make sure that justice is served. Tremendous amount of relief. A lady spoke with me this morning. She said last night was the first night I slept well in a long time. People are on edge and concerned because they know this fire activity was not normal. It didn't occur naturally. Someone was responsible for it. To know that Cal Fire was able to identify somebody and get somebody in custody was a great relief for our community."
"You can't believe it. You can't believe that somebody did this, would do this. It's shock I guess. You can't believe it. You don't want to believe that some person did it."
7. Evacuees walk into shelter
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Denis Quinn, Evacuated Lower Lake Resident
"I'm glad they caught the person that's doing this and I hope it's to the full extent of the law. You've caused a lot of pain. You've caused a lot of damage and you've hurt a lot of people. It's time for that to turn back to you."
A California man was arrested Monday on arson charges for allegedly sparking a wildfire that exploded over the weekend, destroying more than 175 homes, business and other structures in a Northern California town, authorities said.
Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake was arrested Monday on 17 counts of arson and is in jail. He is suspected in numerous fires in Lake County over the past year.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said the blaze in the town of Lower Lake has caused over $10 million in damages and left dozens of families homeless.
The wind-whipped had spread to more than six square miles in the Lower Lake area about 90 miles north of San Francisco.
It was just 5 percent contained, though late in the day fire officials said no other structures were under direct threat.
Weather conditions bedeviled firefighters Monday and the forecast called for temperatures to reach the upper 90s in coming days, with no rain in sight. A heat wave and gusty winds also put Southern California on high fire alert.
Underlying it all is a five-year drought that has sapped vegetation of moisture.