Man Caught Setting Fire Along Washington State Highway, Officials Say

Another suspect caught near the same area, police add
September 10, 2020 Updated: September 10, 2020

A Washington state man was caught Wednesday after allegedly setting a fire intentionally along a highway, officials said.

Trooper Ryan Burke with the Washington State Patrol wrote on Twitter that the 36-year-old suspect was found on State Route 167 in Puyallup near Tacoma. He was arrested and detained, although his identity was not revealed.

“Joint team effort!! WSP, Fife Pd and Puyallup PD just arrested a 36yr old Puyallup resident. He was caught in the median on SR-167@ Meridian setting a fire! He is currently on his way to jail! Great job everybody!” Burke wrote along with a photo of what appears to be a brush fire amid dry grass.

Burke wrote on Thursday afternoon that officials captured another person who intentionally attempted to start a brush fire along State Route 512 and State Route 7.

“We got another one! Great job Trooper Morefield. A pedestrian decided to match light the grass at SR-512 and SR-7. Citizen observed and alerted 911. After a short foot chase, one is in custody and on his way to jail,” he said.

The arrests and arson attempts come in the midst of a historic wildfire season that has affected much of the West Coast, including Oregon, California, and Washington state.

In California, a wildfire threatened thousands of homes Thursday after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in small mountain communities and killed at least three people.

Several other people were critically burned and about 2,000 structures, including homes and other buildings were damaged or destroyed in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada, authorities said. About 20,000 people were under evacuation orders or warnings in three counties in Northern California.

“Time and time again we have seen how dangerous wildfires can be. … So I ask that you please, please please be prepared, maintain situational awareness and heed the warnings,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea pleaded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.