Serial Arsonist Arrested, Charged With Starting Fires On National Forest Land

A Redding man is facing federal charges accusing him of being a serial arsonist and setting fire to national forest lands in Shasta County. The U.S. Attorney’s office says that between June 23rd and July 29th of this year 38-year-old Eric Michael Smith started four wildland fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest using a cigarette lighter or pen torch. One of the fires was near Turntable Bay and forced firefighters to close lanes on Interstate 5. Two other fires were started along Gilman Road in the area of the Hirz Fire footprint. The fourth fire was in the Jones Valley area. The investigation leading to Smith’s arrest was done by the Forest Service, Cal-Fire and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. If convicted, Smith could be sentenced to 5 years in federal prison and a Quarter Million Dollar fine.