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A Cazadero man has been arrested on suspicion of setting five wildland fires in forestland in Sonoma and San Mateo counties, a Cal Fire captain said today. Nathaniel Ridgway Schmidt, 19, is charged with four counts of arson in Sonoma County and one count in San Mateo County, Cal Fire Capt. Ben Nicholls of the Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit said.
The four fires in the Timber Cove area of Sonoma County burned a total of 2 1/2 acres, Nicholls said. Two of the fires totaling two acres were on July 3, 2011 and the other smaller fires were on May 25 and June 9 of this year, Nicholls said. There were no injuries.
Schmidt was arrested Wednesday and admitted setting the fires before he was booked into the Sonoma County jail on four counts of arson, Nicholls said. Schmidt has no prior criminal record. He was arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court this afternoon but did not enter a plea, defense attorney Steve Gallenson said. His next court appearance is Wednesday. Schmidt was being held in jail today under $160,000 bail. Information about the San Mateo County fire on July 11, 2011 was not immediately available this afternoon.