IMAGE: Raymond Lee Oyler
Ric Francis  /  AP file
Raymond Lee Oyler, 36, is charged with arson in 10 blazes in addition to last month's Southern California fire.
updated 11/14/2006 4:56:48 PM ET 2006-11-14T21:56:48

A wildfire that killed five firefighters last month in Southern California was started with a device consisting of a cigarette and six matches, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Authorities suspect a similar device was used in June to set two other wildfires that were later linked by DNA to the man charged with setting the deadly blaze, according to court documents obtained by The Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

Raymond Lee Oyler, 36, is charged with murder and arson in the fatal fire, and with arson in 10 other blazes. He has pleaded not guilty.

California Forestry Department investigator Matthew Wayne Gilbert said in court papers that the device used to start the deadly fire was similar to the one used to set fires on June 9 and 10.

'Overwhelming evidence'
DNA extracted from cigarette butts found after the June fires was matched to Oyler, Gilbert said. The device used to start the October blaze was being tested for DNA.

“We want to stress there is overwhelming evidence,” district attorney spokeswoman Ingrid Wyatt said. “We’re absolutely sure we have the right man behind bars.”

Oyler’s attorney, Mark McDonald, said his client has an “airtight alibi.”

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