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Lake County Arson Suspect Was Inmate Firefighter

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Corrections officials say the man suspected of sparking a massive Northern California wildfire once worked as an inmate firefighter while he served time on drug possession and firearms charges. Corrections department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said Tuesday that 40-year-old Damin Anthony Pashilk of Clearlake was completing a five-year sentence when he was assigned to fight wildfires from April through July 2007. Pashilk was arrested Monday on suspicion of starting the wildfire in Lower Lake, about a two hour drive from San Francisco. It has burned nearly 7 square miles while destroying 175 structures. He was paroled in July 2007. He was imprisoned six more times for violating his parole, but did not work as a firefighter again before he finally left parole in 2011. Waters says more than 1,700 inmates are currently fighting fires statewide, including 340 fighting the Lake County blaze.