RENO, NV - Washoe County sheriff detectives have arrested the man they believe started the Pinehaven fire in the Caughlin Ranch area.
Charles Sanford was taken into custody Friday evening after being on the loose since Monday's fire.
It all started when a deputy saw a brown 1980's Toyota Land Cruiser in the area of Kietzke Lane and Del Monte Lane on Monday, July 2. The deputy tried to initiate a traffic stop after learning the license plates belonged on a different vehicle.
The driver wouldn't stop, leading to a chase that led to the area of Pinehaven Drive and onto a dirt road. The driver slowed the SUV and jumped out, leaving the vehicle to stop in the woods butting up against the area. The deputy saw flames inside the SUV, which rolled into a ravine and started the brush fire. Investigators believe the driver intentionally started the fire inside the SUV before jumping out.
The deputy was able to positively identify Charles Asa Sanford as the driver, and investigators were able to locate the identification number on the vehicle, which further identified Sanford as the owner of the vehicle. Detectives tracked Sanford to a restaurant near the 100 block of West Grove Street and arrested him Friday evening.
Charles Asa Sanford was booked into the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility for Felony Eluding a Peace Officer, Felony 3rd Degree Arson, Display of Fictitious License Plates, and two counts of Reckless Driving. His bail is set at $26,655.
The brush fire burned 206 acres and was contained within two days. It never threatened homes or businesses, according to firefighters, and no one was reported hurt.