12/18/2013 07:24 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Former Firefighter Charged With Murder For Allegedly Starting Deadly Clover Fire


Former firefighter Zane Wallace Peterson, 29, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with arson and murder linked to the Clover Fire that burned through Shasta County, Calif. in September.

According to state fire captain Scott McLean, Peterson of Happy Valley ignited the two fires that grew into the weeklong blaze that burned more than 12 square miles, destroyed 50 plus homes, called more than 1,500 firefighters into action, cost $7 million to fight and killed 56-year-old Brian Henry.

Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna confirmed with the Record Searchlight that Peterson was a former firefighter.

"This is a significant arson arrest for CAL FIRE, Shasta County and the residents who endured the Clover Fire and suffered losses,” CAL FIRE regional chief Doug Wenham said. “The tragic loss of life and so many homes at the hands of an intentional fire is a heinous act."

Peterson has also been accused of igniting six fires since the Clover Fire and now faces hundreds of related charges. He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday and will face 25 years to life for the murder charge and 90 years for the arson charges if convicted.

McLean would not comment on Peterson’s possible motive.

"This is still an ongoing case," he said. "There's still more work to be done on our part to make sure this comes to a positive conclusion."



Wildfires Out Of Control