Four people have been arrested for intentionally starting fires on the West Coast. Two men in Washington, one man in Oregon and a woman in California were detained and are facing multiple charges.
41-year-old Michael Jarrod Bakkela of Oregon is considered to be one of the origins of the Almeda fire. According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Bakkela was spotted starting a fire behind a Phoenix resident's home. As a result of the fire, the residents had to flee their home and Bakkela was subsequently arrested on two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief and 14 counts of reckless endangerment.
"There are numerous homes, many of which are burnt completely, some are just heavily damaged, that are part of the 15 counts of criminal mischief," explained Jackson County Sheriff's Office public information officer Mike Moran.
So far the fires have killed 24 people, but according to Oregon authorities, residents need to brace themselves for a "mass fatality incident."
In California, Anita Esquivel, 37, was arrested after being accused of intentionally starting fire, while two men in Washington were also arrested for arson. 36-year-old Puyallup resident was caught on State Route 167 for setting a fire on Wednesday, and another pedestrian was spotted lighting a match in the grass at State Route 512 on Thursday.
The FBI has addressed the media conspiracies that "extremists" were starting the fires by stating, "With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue."