Serial arsonist behind bars after setting fires on greenway

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Police say a serial arsonist is back at it again after setting a pair of fires on the Bear Creek Greenway on Monday.

Police say Debra Johns has a history of targeting parks and the greenway to set fires.

In 2014, Johns entered a no-contest plea to arson charges after Medford Police arrested her for starting three fires.

The agency said it believed Johns could be behind another 20 arsons. The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said Johns suffers from mental illness.

She was given three years of supervised probation.

According to police, a witness saw Johns on Monday afternoon by a small fire along the greenway in Medford behind Target. Minutes later, she was spotted running from a new fire.

“We’ve seen fires on the greenway and how fast they can really explode, threaten life, [and] threaten property, so we’re taking these very seriously,” said Lt. Mike Budreau, Medford Police Dept.

Johns was arrested and charged with “reckless burning.”

Medford Police say she has since been banned from being on the greenway.

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