This 41-year-old man Michael Jarrod Bakkela from Oregon has been charged with arson following the raging Wildfrie that has destryoed hundreds of houses in the the West Coast with death and devastation.
The 41-year-old man, was jailed on two charges of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief and 14 counts of reckless endangering for a fire that was set Tuesday in the Phoenix area in southern Oregon.
The police had reported that the fire allegedly was set by Bakkela, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Mike Moran told ABC News.
“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,” Moran said.
He was previously arrested on Tuesday for a probation violation on an original charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Authorities charged him Friday in connection with the fire, which he denied starting.
The FBI noted that several false statements online claim that far-right and far-left extremists set the raging West Coast fires. The agency has firmly denied these claims.
“FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue. Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away from local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources,” the FBI said in a statement.
Dozens of people were still missing and tens of thousands had been forced to flee their homes. The state’s emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, said officials are “preparing for a mass fatality event” and thousands of structures have been destroyed.
Oregon officials haven’t released an exact death count but at least eight fatalities have been reported. Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said Friday evening that searchers had found two victims of the Beachie Creek fire near Salem. A 1-year-old boy was killed in wildfires in Washington