CLEARLAKE, Calif., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A man suspected of igniting the Clayton fire in Northern California has been arrested, police and fire officials said Monday.
Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, has been charged with 17 counts of arson. Those charges will likely be added to, considering the degree of property loss. Police believe he is also responsible for other fires in 2016.
Pashilk has a long criminal record for weapons and drug charges and repeated parole violations.
Pashilk has been the subject of investigation for various fires for about a year, Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said
"It's hard to look at that man and know that he's the one that's caused all of this because I have close friends who lost everything," said local resident Andrea McMullen.
Thousands have been evacuated and at least 175 homes have been destroyed Monday as the Clayton Fire in Northern California expanded.
The fire, which began Saturday night, has burned 4,000 acres and is 5 percent contained in Lake County, Cal Fire said Monday night.