On August 22, 2022, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office received multiple 911 calls reporting two visible smoke columns south of the Yuba Pass near Berry Creek in Sierra County. Sierra County Fire and the Tahoe National Forest Service fire personnel responded. The fires were contained a short time after fire personnel arrived on the scene.
The forest service determined the fires were suspicious, and the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office assumed the lead agency in the investigation. Sheriff’s Office Investigators, assisted by Cal-Fire and the Tahoe National Forest Service collected evidence and interviewed witnesses the following day.
During the ensuing investigation, Dillon Schneider of Auburn California was identified as a person of interest. Schneider was employed as a water truck driver with a logging company working in the area when the fires started.
In the late afternoon of August 22, Sheriff’s Office Investigators arrested Schneider for being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition and a firearm. After additional investigation and searches of Schneider’s vehicles, Sheriff Office Investigator’s developed probable cause that Schneider was responsible for starting the fires and placed him under arrest for arson.
Dillion Schneider was booked into the Nevada County Jail on suspicion of arson, possession of an incendiary device, a prohibited person possessing ammunition and a firearm, and possession of stolen property; bail is set at $200,000.
This is an ongoing investigation, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 289-3700.
Full USFS Wildland Fire Dispatch to
8.22.22 Berry Fire.
After receiving 911 call notification, reporting the Berry Fire, near Berry Creek southwest of Sattley, CA on the Sierraville Ranger District of the Tahoe National Forest, TNF Dispatch mobilized both aerial and ground Firefighting Resources. Once TNF Air Attack 17 Bryan Rosenow was over the fire, he relayed the initial size up that included observations of 2 wildfires- each 1/4 acre, 100 yards apart, exhibiting a slow rate of spread.
TNF Helicopter 514 with 514 Tahoe Helitack stationed at White Cloud and cover Helicopter 3CH from the Salmon-Challis National Forest with Salmon Heli-rappellers stationed out of Truckee, were also part of the aerial firefighting response. Ground resources who made access into Fire included TNF Eastside Battalion Chief 61 Shawn Burt, TNF Truckee Engine 373, cover engine 1249 from Tonto National Forest, TNF Downieville Engine 332, TNF Sierraville Patrols 61, 62, Fuels Tech 63, and Fuels Specialist 64.
USFS aerial and ground Fire resources took swift suppression action combining helicopter bucket work and a progressive hose lay around the entire perimeter of the fires to stop forward progression in its .2 acre footprint. USFS Firefighters from Tahoe NF and Tonto NF Engines, TNF H514 Tahoe Helitack and Salmon-Challis NF Helicopter 3CH Salmon Heli-rappellers constructed containment line to reinforce the hose lay and bring the Berry Fire to 100% containment. TNF Fire Prevention Patrols 61 and 62 conducted the initial Fire Investigation on the ground. Ground resources fully mopped up the Berry Fire supported by TNF Water Tender 231. TNF Truckee Engine 373 remained on the Berry Fire overnight, hand-gridding the fire area the next morning to thoroughly check for any remaining interior heat before putting the fire in Patrol status where it has continued to be regularly checked by TNF Fire Resources.