Suspect charged with arson in connection to Grizzly Fire

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A Concord man, Alfredo Bautista, allegedly admitted to a police officer that he used a cigarette lighter to start Wednesday’s Grizzly Fire after a road rage incident earlier in the morning.

Bautista was arrested Wednesday on charges of alleged arson and assault in connection to the Grizzly Fire, which broke out at the intersection of Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Fish Ranch Road in the Berkeley Hills on Wednesday afternoon.

Bautista approached a vehicle while armed with a rifle and followed the victims in his own vehicle after they attempted to escape, according to a declaration submitted by Oakland Police Department officer Matthew Jung. Bautista then rammed his own vehicle multiple times into the victims’ car before fleeing the scene, according to Jung’s declaration.

UCPD officer Ryan Miyamoto said he responded hours later to a reported vehicle theft at Berkeley Lab, where he allegedly identified a shirtless Bautista standing next to the stolen vehicle, according to a second declaration submitted by Miyamoto.

Bautista was then detained and allegedly found to have a cigarette lighter in his pocket during a search.

Bautista was booked Saturday at Santa Rita Jail and his bail has been set by a judge at $355,000.

Around 200 firefighters from multiple local fire departments, including Berkeley Fire Department, responded throughout Wednesday to the Grizzly Fire.

The fire burned 20 acres of land and caused a number of campus properties, including buildings at Berkeley Lab, the Space Sciences Laboratory and the Lawrence Hall of Science, to be evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.