Over a million acres have already burned in Northern California this wildfire season — a figure that meant nothing to one Bay Area arsonist on Saturday. Thankfully, several good samaritans stopped that figure from growing any more than it needed to.
Yesterday, an individual at the Bay Village Shopping Center at 3080 Marlow Road in Santa Rosa noticed someone setting fire to a dry patch of grass off the side of the road. Knowing something was off, the person decided to call the police and stick around until authorities could come and apprehend the suspect — who, apparently, was at one point fanning the flames to make things burn faster. Fast forward a bit later... and that one person was joined by more do-gooders, each of them present to hold the lawbreaker accountable for their environmentally unsound crime.
Shortly before 11 AM, Santa Rosa Fire responded to a vegetation fire in the 3000 block of Marlow Rd. 2 Engine & Battalion Chief responded. FFs quickly contain fire & Fire Investigator & SRPD were assigned. For details on the arrest: https://t.co/0NQWilwb5p pic.twitter.com/vNQtIXwpdA— Santa Rosa Fire Department (@SantaRosaFire) September 12, 2021
Per a news release from the Santa Rosa Police Department, when officers arrived on the scene, they found the suspect, 43-year-old Jacey Steven Ludwicki of Santa Rosa, surrounded by several people. Upon questioning, one of the people in the group told police the suspect "lit something on fire" before dropping it on the ground to catch on the grass beneath. Ludwicki, too, was also accused of intentionally fanning the flames to grow the small blaze, which he started near a dry creek bed.
The release noted that Ludwicki was taken into custody by on-site police. (When Ludwicki began moving away from the fire, he was quickly detained by the officers who soon after located a cigarette lighter on him.) Ludwick admitted to the crime during their arrest. Currently, the fortysomething was arrested for "451 (d) PC-Arson (a felony) and 1203.2 PC-violating his probation terms (a misdemeanor)."
Thankfully, the 400-square-foot brush fire was promptly put out by firefighters.
According to California’s penal code, "willful or malicious arsons" can result in fines of up to $10K and, should the arson be conducted to property or on forest land, may result in six years in prison.
But again: You can avoid all of the above penalties by simply not being an asshole toward Mother Nature.
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter via @SantaRosaFire