Update 9/15/21: The Sheriff’s Office has released additional information on the arson suspect, Devon Lamar Johnson, a 20 year old man from Ukiah, which can be watched in full in the video update below. Johnson is charged with violation of probation, from a previous felony burglary, and is also being charged with three counts of arson related to the Hopkins Fire. He is being held without bail.
MENDOCINO Co., 9/14/21 — The cause of the 257-acre Hopkins Fire, which has burned an unknown number of structures and is currently threatening roughly 200 more, has been attributed to arson — and investigators took a suspect into custody today, according to Cal Fire.
Authorities have not publicly identified the suspect. That key detail was omitted from Cal Fire’s press release announcing the arrest; multiple spokespeople for the agency told The Mendocino Voice that information is either not known or not currently being released to the public. The suspect has been transported to the Mendocino County Jail, according to Cal Fire, but as of 7 p.m. none of the individuals processed so far today appear to have been arrested on suspicion of arson.
Cal Fire Mendocino Unit Chief George Gonzalez said in a statement that he was proud of his agency’s law enforcement officer, as well as the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office — so we have reached out to both of those agencies for more information.
Firefighters battling the Hopkins Fire reached 60% containment on the blaze today despite heat and moderate winds, according to an update issued this evening. An official count of the structures damaged and destroyed in the fire is not yet available, but Cal Fire’s Damage Inspection Team has started to evaluate the scene and more details should be available in the coming days. Mandatory evacuations remain in place and an evacuation center has been set up at Mendocino County Office of Education, 2240 Old River Road in Ukiah — details are updated at MendoReady.org.
You can check out the initial press release from Cal Fire below:
CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Officers Arrest Arson Suspect
Mendocino County, CA – On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit investigators arrested an individual for arson (PC 451(c)). This individual is suspected to be responsible for starting the Hopkins Fire on Sunday, September 12, 2021, which burned numerous structures, threatened hundreds of lives, including response personnel, burned 257 acres, and damaged utilities and critical infrastructure.
A CAL FIRE officer with the assistance of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Ukiah Valley Fire Department and the Mendocino County Districts Attorney’s Office arrested the suspect today. The suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
“I am very proud of our law enforcement officer, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office for working together on this case,” said CAL FIRE MEU Unit Chief George Gonzalez. “Our communities are much safer after this arrest.”
As fire danger remains high across California, wildfires pose a major threat to life, property, and our state’s natural resources. CAL FIRE urges the public to be vigilant in their preparedness and be aware of suspicious activity when a fire does start. If you witness suspicious activity, the following steps should be followed:
- Do not approach the individual or individuals engaging in the suspicious behavior, if safe to do so, note the description of the individual(s) including, location, gender, height, weight, clothing description, hair color and any other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos. If a vehicle is involved in the suspicious activity, the following information can be helpful to investigator
The California Arson Hotline: 1-800-468-4408 The hotline takes anonymous reports of arson and offers rewards to those who provide information about a suspected arsonist. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Penal Code 451 PC – California Arson Laws www.shouselaw.com/arson.html. ###