Transient arrested on suspicion of arson on East Bay MUD trail

- Authorities in Pleasant Hill arrested a man on Wednesday on suspicion of arson and say he may be linked to a series of other suspicious fires in the area.

Mark Smith, 48, a transient in Pleasant Hill is behind bars for allegedly starting a fire on Tuesday night on the East Bay MUD trail near Oak Park Boulevard. The small fire was quickly extinguished, but was started in an area with dry brush and vegetation, according to Captain George Laing with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

“We are relieved to have a suspect in custody and we hope to continue to evaluate him in connection with other incidents in the area,” Laing said.

The other incidents include a series of suspicious fires on the nearby Iron Horse Trail in both Pleasant Hill and Concord. Laing said there had been about 20 small fires on that trail since the summer.

He would not specify what led investigators to Smith or how Smith may have started Tuesday’s fire.

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