Serial Arsonist Convicted Pleads Guilty In Federal Court To Intentionally Sparking Numerous Fires

A man from Redding has pleaded guilty to federal charges of being a serial arsonist. 41-year-old Eric Michael Smith made the admission in federal court Monday. He’s accused of starting at least eleven fires on Shasta-Trinity National Forest land between June of 2019 and July of 2020. Prosecutors say he used cigarette lighters and handheld torches to ignite the fires in mostly remote locations and mostly in the early morning hours. One of the fires was in July of 2020 near Turntable Bay. It burned very close to Interstate Five, forcing a closure of part of the freeway as firefighters had to battle to keep the fire from reaching vehicles and homes on the other side. Smith will be sentenced in August, and he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a Million Dollar fine.