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Arson suspect arrested, given multiple charges

PHOENIX — An Arizona man has been arrested and charged after starting a wildfire at a nature preserve over the weekend, according to authorities.

According to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Jason Bradley Martin, 47, is suspected of starting the massive fire at Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

The Refuge Fire has grown to 1,037 acres 20% containment As of Monday.

Officers were called to the scene on Saturday around 2pm. According to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office.

Several local agencies, including the Lake Martinez Fire Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, responded to the blaze, with the Bureau of Land Management, Rural Metro and the Yuma Test Range Fire Department also joining in to help protect the wildlife refuge.

Arson suspect accused of starting evacuation shelter fire arrested on multiple charges

Authorities arrested Martin and charged him with multiple offenses, including:

  • Reckless Incineration
  • Arson of buildings and property
  • Criminal damage
  • Burning of wilderness
  • At risk

The arson remains under investigation. The Yuma County Sheriff's Office is urging anyone with information to call them at 928-783-4427, or to remain anonymous, call 78-CRIME.

What is Imperial National Wildlife Refuge?

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is located about 40 miles north of Yuma, near the Arizona-California border. Many migratory birds and endangered and threatened species live in the 25,768-acre refuge.

It protects 30 miles of wildlife habitat along the lower Colorado River. Shelter website.

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