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Woman accused of starting 14 roadside fires in Northern California is arrested

Woman arrested in arson fires

As more than 10,000 firefighters battle drought-driven wildfires throughout California, authorities said Tuesday that a woman intentionally set 14 fires that had the potential to become explosive.

Tracey Webb, 34, of Redding was arrested Monday after investigators connected her to more than a dozen fires sparked along Highway 299 and Old Oregon Trail in the last week, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Redding fires were not connected to the 22 wildfires that burned across the state Tuesday, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Jimmy Zanotelli.

But the roadside fires, he said, could have grown significantly in a matter of minutes, especially in Shasta County, where oaks are tinder-dry.

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Webb was booked into the Shasta County jail on suspicion of arson, he said. Details about how Cal Fire investigators linked the fires to Webb were not released.

Firefighters responded to 300 new wildfires this week, according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire officials said dry conditions from the drought allowed the wildfires to burn at an explosive rate. Just this year, Cal Fire crews responded to more than 4,200 wildfires, about 1,500 more than the average for the same period last year.

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