A Flagstaff man on federal probation for previous incidents of arson was arrested Wednesday after police say he started a wildfire in a wooded area near a hospital, police said.

He was held on suspicion of the burning of wildlands, Sgt. Cory Runge, Flagstaff Police Department spokesman, said.

Shawn Farnham, 50, was seen leaving Flagstaff Medical Center and crossing the street before entering a wooded area, police said.

Farnham then left the wooded area and returned to Flagstaff Medical Center. A few minutes later, smoke was seen coming from the area.

Police responded to reports of a fire in the area at 1:21 p.m.

Farnham was on supervised release for previous arsons, Runge said.

Farnham initially denied being in the wooded area, but he later told police that he had been there, and he may have inadvertently started a fire by disposing of a cigarette, Runge said.

Police said investigators with the Flagstaff Fire Department “indicated a cigarette was likely not the cause of the fire due to humidity and temperature conditions.”

Farnham was arrested and booked into Coconino County Jail after his release from Flagstaff Medical Center, Runge said.

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