Authorities eventually caught up with the man responsible -- Kenneth Jackson and his wife.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting 21 fires.
When parole became a possibility, lawmakers and local officials joined the community to push back on his early release for years.
"It's very scary to think that he could be out again," says Babs Stern.
This year, his sentence was reduced. This month, he was paroled out of prison after serving eight years.
District Attorney Sally Moreno's message to Madera County residents is, "If they see him, they can feel free to contact the non-emergency law enforcement number wherever they are because he is in violation of parole. He is on parole for some time. If he is found in this county, he can be returned to custody for that."
Moreno says early releases like this one are why she and 43 other district attorneys sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation earlier this year.
"How do you give these credits," she said. "Why do you give these credits out indiscriminately without consideration for the conduct?"
His wife, Alice Waterman, was originally sentenced to 10 years. She completed her sentence early and was released in 2018.