Arizona man accused of setting 3 fires north of Payson last week

Jun 3, 2024, 10:09 AM | Updated: Jun 10, 2024, 7:38 am

PHOENIX — An Arizona man has been arrested and accused of starting three fires last week, authorities said.

Kenneth Yocum, 53, was arrested on Thursday, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said.

He allegedly set the fires off State Highway 87 earlier that day.

A witness saw him and described his appearance to police who arrived on scene, authorities said.

The fires burned between Pine and Strawberry, two unincorporated communities in the northern part of Gila County.

For reference, the area of Strawberry is around 18 miles northwest of Payson.

A Facebook post from the Pine-Strawberry Fire District said authorities found a quarter-acre fire burning in the brush off the northbound side of Highway 87 around 4:45 p.m.

“We were able to contain the fire to approximately a quarter acre. Upon further assessment we found two more fires within the same area,” the district said. “With the help of the Tonto National Forest we were able to contain both of those fires to approximately a third of an acre each.”

Yocum faces three counts of criminal damage as well as three counts of burning wildlands.

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Arizona man accused of setting 3 fires north of Payson last week