Man arrested for arson near Almeda Fire in southern Oregon

Crime

Michael Bakkela faces 32 separate charges

Michael Jarrod Bakkela, September 11, 2020 (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 41-year-old transient was arrested on arson and drug charges after a fire was set during the Almeda Fire that destroyed much of the southern Oregon town of Phoenix.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office made it clear that Michael Jarrod Bakkela is charged for an arson that “is separate from the Almeda Fire investigation.”

Investigators said the fire was set behind a home in the 1100 block of Quail Lane off Barnum Drive, between Highway 99 and the railroad tracks. Residents called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. on September 8 to report a man lighting a fire.

When law enforcement arrived, they said “Bakkela was standing close to a very large fire threatening several homes.”

Bakkela is being held in the Jackson County Jail for 2 counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief and 14 counts of reckless endangering plus a probation violation for possession of more than 2 ounces of meth.

The investigation into the cause of the Almeda Fire continues.

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