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Additional charges were filed this morning against a Timber Cove Fire Protection District volunteer suspected of setting five forestland fires in Sonoma and San Mateo counties. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office filed five new misdemeanor charges of making a false report of an emergency against 19-year-old Nathaniel Schmidt, of Cazadero. Defense attorney Steve Gallenson said the charges are not related to the alleged arson cases.
“They are related to something out on the highway,” Gallenson said, but did not give specifics. Schmidt was charged last week with four felony counts of arson of forestland in Sonoma County. Cal Fire Capt. Ben Nicholls in the Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit said Schmidt was arrested July 11 on suspicion of starting the Sonoma County fires and another fire in San Mateo County. The Sonoma County fires occurred between July 3, 2011, and June 9, 2012, Nicholls said.
All were small. Schmidt delayed entering a plea in Sonoma County Superior Court this morning. He will be back in court on Friday for a review of his $160,000 bail and entry of plea. Schmidt’s parents, who declined to give their names, said their son had been a volunteer with the Timber Cove Fire Protection District since he was a cadet at age 13.
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