Alleged arsonist faces judge

MEDFORD, Ore.– Ashland police are investigating the Almeda Fire’s origins.

Meanwhile, the man charged with arson for starting a 2nd fire in Phoenix that combined with the original Almeda Fire faced a judge today.

Michael Bakkela appeared today at the Jackson County Courthouse for his arraignment, through a video conference call from the jail.

Bakkela pleaded not guilty.

He’s charged with arson and reckless endangerment among other charges, after the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says he started a second fire in Phoenix, while the Almeda fire was burning.

The sheriff says that fire did burn homes.

A preliminary hearing was set for September 21.

His bail was set at $5 million.

Bakkela does have a criminal history in Oregon for low level crimes.

© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content