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Former fire explorer charged as serial arsonist in 8 San Bernardino County blazes

Former fire explorer charged as serial arsonist in 8 San Bernardino County blazes
Jarrod Samra, 23, is charged with starting eight wildfires in San Bernardino County. (San Bernardino County district attorney's office)

A former fire explorer is suspected of being a serial arsonist responsible for eight wildfires in the San Bernardino Mountains over the last two months, prosecutors said Monday.

Jarrod Samra, 23, of Yucaipa was arrested Thursday when deputies responding to a brush fire off Highway 38 stopped his vehicle and investigated.

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After he was in custody, detectives linked him to eight blazes overall that burned more than 900 acres and injured one firefighter. Included in the number is the Bryant fire II, which has burned 325 acres through Monday morning, officials said at a news conference. The Bryant fire II is 85% contained and burning in Yucaipa, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

"This arsonist will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Michael Ramos said in a statement. "The history of fires in our county and the destruction they have caused to human life and property is absolutely tragic. Thankfully, through the investigative work of our law enforcement and public safety partners, we were able to stop this individual, and prevent any future destruction or potential loss of life."

Samra is accused of starting eight blazes:

  • The Bryant fire I on July 7, which burned 76 acres.

  • The Hidden fire on July 12, which burned 43 acres and injured one firefighter.

  • The Bridge fire on July 14, which burned 460 acres.

  • The Piedmont fire on July 16, which burned one-eighth of an acre.

  • The Seine fire on July 22, which burned 25 acres.

  • The Trout fire on July 28, which was considered a “spot fire.”

  • The Helen fire on July 28, which was considered a “spot fire.”

  • The Bryant fire II on Aug. 3 , which so far has burned 325 acres.

Samra was charged with one count of arson causing great bodily injury and eight counts of arson of a structure of forest. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 19 years in prison.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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