Former California firefighter charged with setting 7 fires

Zane Wallace Peterson
Zane Wallace Peterson

CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested former firefighter Zane Wallace Peterson, 29, of Happy Valley, California Tuesday morning on suspicion of intentionally setting seven fires in Shasta County, including the September 9th, 2013 Clover Fire. Peterson was booked into the Shasta County Jail and charged with over 200 arson-related counts, including 60 for arson to occupied structures.

  • Arson of a Structure or Vegetation (Penal Code 451(c)) 140 Counts
  • Arson that causes great bodily injury (Penal Code 451(a)) 1 Count
  • Arson to Occupied Structures (Penal Code 451(b)) 60 Counts.
  • Arson with Aggravating Factors (Penal Code 451.1(a)(4)) 2 Counts
  • Arson using Incendiary Device (Penal Code 453) 5 Counts

He was also charged with homicide for the death of one person on the Clover Fire. On September 10, 2013 the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office located a deceased person, identified as Brian Stanley Henry, 56, inside the Clover Fire perimeter on Coal Pit Road in the community of Igo, California while conducting a welfare check.

Mr. Peterson will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Shasta County.

The U.S. Forest Service confirmed that Mr. Peterson was a former employee on the Mendocino National Forest. He worked as a firefighter (Forestry Technician) and fire engine operator from May 15, 2005 until October 22, 2012.

The Clover Fire burned 8,073 acres and threatened over 500 residences. It destroyed 60 occupied residences and 130 outbuildings. Over 1500 firefighters from across the state responded at the height of the incident. The cost to contain and control the fire was over $7.3 million.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

12 thoughts on “Former California firefighter charged with setting 7 fires”

    1. Leo, I am pretty sure Arson is one of the offenses that eliminates an inmate from consideration for admission into the Conservation Camp program.

  1. Intercity tough guys, professional foot ball players, Hollywood types, skilled construction workers, labors, medical doctors, all make up a Cal Fire camp crew. No arsonist, sex offenders or attorneys.

    1. I bet your an attorney? In good old liberal Ca. no one is “barred” from anything. Short answer, for every ones protection. Example, you are the district attorney that “puts away” an inmate on the same crew. Or, the flip side, you are the defense attorney or public defender that in the inmates mind did a bad job of defending him.
      So you are an attorney that want to come to camp and fight fires save lives. Can it be kept a secret that your an attorney, I wouldn’t try it.

      1. Yes, Johnny, I’m a lawyer, and for ten summers before that (including during law school) I fought wildland fires. But I never thought I was doing that to save lives…I agree, there are no secrets in prison.

        In my case, I don’t live in CA any more, and now if my life goes to hell while I’m visiting there, I’m down one option if I get sent to the Big House. One summer I worked with a guy who started fighting fires on a CDF convict crew. He told me how his leg got cut with a saw; medical people told him he had to go back to the prison with that injury, and he told them “No, I’ll be out with the crew tomorrow,” and he worked with that injury, rather than have to go back.

  2. Hats off to the investigators…

    Getting an arrest and conviction is not a simple task…

    Good to see justice served…

    High fives to the investigation team…

  3. There is obviously more to the story with this former firefighter leaving or being terminated from the Forest Service in 2012. One of the other news articles had some of his previous convictions for lesser offences.

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