CAL FIRE Arrests Suspected Wildfire Arsonist

Riverside - CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested Steven Taylor Rutherford, 47 of Banning Friday, on suspicion of intentionally setting numerous fires throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Rutherford was booked into the Riverside County Robert Presley Detention Center on nine counts of arson.

“Arson is a serious crime that threatens the public, communities and the environment,” said Region Chief Dale Hutchinson, CAL FIRE Southern Region. “This is the third arson arrest for CAL FIRE this week, and let it send a message to anyone considering committing this heinous act.”

The investigation and arrest was aided by several other fire and law enforcement agencies.

“This arrest is a result of teamwork and cooperation with many local fire and law enforcement agencies,” said Chief Rod Bywater, acting unit chief of CAL FIRE’s San Bernardino Unit.

“I’m proud that our fire investigators arrested this arson suspect, said Chief John R. Hawkins, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department. “A lot of time and energy has been put into this investigation and we look forward to continuing to work with the District Attorney’s Office on this ongoing criminal case.”

As part of CAL FIRE’s fire prevention efforts, investigators work diligently to investigate the origin and cause of all types of fires. When a fire cause is determined to be intentionally set, and therefore arson, CAL FIRE is committed to holding those responsible who willfully and maliciously threaten the safety of the public.

Just last week, CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested a Madera County couple for allegedly starting dozens of wildfires in the small community of Yosemite Lakes Park between Fresno and Yosemite National Park. These arrests come during a year when conditions have been extremely dry and fire activity has been high statewide.

CAL FIRE is asking the public to remain vigilant and report anything or anyone that may be suspicious. Anyone with information about arson is urged to contact the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous.


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