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California Man Charged With Clayton Fire and Other Blazes

Damin Anthony Pashilk was charged with 17 counts in relation to several fires, including the raging Clayton Fire.
IMAGE: Clayton Fire
A house was in ruins from the Clayton Fire in Lower Lake, Calif.AP

A 40-year-old man was arrested Monday and charged with arson in the Clayton Fire, which is blamed for having destroyed more than 175 homes and other structures in northern California, authorities said.

Damin Anthony Pashilk of Clearlake, Calif., was booked into the Lake County Jail on 17 counts in connection to several fires over the past year, including the Clayton Fire, according to Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin and Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE.

That fire, which has burned more than 4,000 acres, remained just 5 percent contained Monday night, although fire officials said no other structures were immediately threatened. More than 1,000 personnel are fighting the fire, which broke out about 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) Saturday near Clayton Creek, south of Lower Lake.

"It is a tragic thing whenever we identify any individual who intentionally starts a fire," Pimlott said at a community meeting Monday night.

"The community has suffered significantly," Pimlott added, saying damage from the fire was estimated to have topped $10 million.

The fast-moving wildfire had spread to more than 6 square miles in an area about 90 miles north of San Francisco, NBC Bay Area reported, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

"Our goal is to just hold it back," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for CAL FIRE. "We don't want it to get any closer to these homes than it did yesterday."