Man suspected of arson arrested in connection with California wildfire

Officials in northern California have arrested the man they say is responsible for a wildfire that's destroyed more than 175 homes and businesses.

"Earlier today Cal Fire investigators, along with Lake County Sheriffs detectives with the assistance of the Lake County District Attorney's office were able to arrest Mr. Pashilk on 17 counts of arson," Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Monday.

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Damin Pashilk, 40, was arrested and charged with 17 counts of arson.

Investigators say he's linked to the Clayton fire which broke out Saturday afternoon about 100 miles north of San Francisco. According to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, that 4,000-acre blaze still threatens some 1,500 structures. As of Monday afternoon, it was only 5 percent contained.

The Los Angeles Times reports Pashilk had been under investigation for nearly a year and that officials say he's responsible for other recent fires in the area.

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The Cal Fire director said in a statement: "The residents of Lake County have experienced senseless loss and endured significant hardship over the past year. Mr. Pashilk committed a horrific crime and we will seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."

A different wildfire in roughly the same region last year killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.

ABC reports officials are pulling out all the stops to tame this blaze. More than 1,600 firefighters are on the scene as residents begin to assess the damage from the Clayton fire.