Calif. Firefighter Allegedly Set Wildland Fires

July 13--A Cazadero volunteer firefighter is facing arson charges for allegedly setting four small wildland fires in the Timber Cove area, a Cal Fire official said Friday.

Nathaniel Ridgway Schmidt, 19, was arrested Wednesday, according to Cal Fire Capt. Ben Nicholls of the Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit.

Schmidt is listed as a cadet on the roster of the Timber Cove Volunteer Fire Department based in Cazadero, said Suzie Blankenship of Cal Fire.

Mike Singer, Timber Cove fire chief, could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Schmidt was charged with four felony counts of arson in connection with fires set in the Timber Cove area between July 3, 2011, and June 9, 2012, Nicholls said. An additional arson fire was set in San Mateo County in July, 2011.

Bay City News Service reported that two of the Timber Cove fires totaling two acres were set July 3, 2011 and the smaller fires, which totaled half an acre, were on May 25 and June 9

No injuries were reported.

Bay Cities said that Schmidt was jailed on $160,000 bail.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office assisted Cal Fire with the investigation, Nicholls said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or

Copyright 2012 - The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.