SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, of San Jose, pleaded guilty today to three counts of arson on federal property, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Maynard engaged in an arson spree in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and in the vicinity of the then-ongoing Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest. Maynard set some of his fires behind firefighters who were actively fighting the Dixie Fire, effectively surrounding these firefighters as they responded to one of the largest wildfires in California history. 

Maynard admitted to setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20, 2021), the Everitt Fire (July 21, 2021), the Ranch Fire (Aug. 7, 2021), and the Conard Fire (Aug. 7, 2021).

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol, and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shea Kenny, Sam Stefanki, and Michael Anderson are prosecuting the case.

Maynard is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, 2024, by U.S. District Judge Daniel J. Calabretta. Maynard faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count to which he pleaded guilty. Arson to federal property carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.