A criminology professor was charged with setting part of the Sierra Nevada forest on fire

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A criminology professor was charged with setting part of the Sierra Nevada forest on fire
A law enforcement officer watches flames launch into the air as fire continues to spread at the Bear fire in Oroville, California, on September 9, 2020. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
  • A criminology professor has been charged with arson, The New York Times reported on Friday.
  • Gary Maynard currently awaits a hearing in a Sacramento jail, according to The Times.

A California man was charged with setting a portion of the Sierra Nevada forest ablaze, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Prosecutors say Gary Maynard, a criminology professor with a specialization in deviancy, drove up to Sierra Nevada and set a part of the forest on fire.

Maynard currently awaits a hearing in a Sacramento jail, The Times reported.

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Arson is a major concern in California, where in recent years, massive wildfires have raged in the state. According to The Times, 10% of wildfires every year are set on purpose. Last year alone, the number of wildfires started by arson rose from 301 to 320.

Cal Fire, the state agency that fights and investigates fires, has arrested 103 people on arson charges so far this year and last year arrested 120.

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