Sonoma County deputies arrested a homeless man Thursday on suspicion of being publicly intoxicated, violating probation, spitting on a deputy and possibly starting a brush fire in western Sonoma County.

A deputy responding to a small vegetation fire became aware of David Swanson, a 28-year-old on probation for theft, after multiple reports by local residents of a unfamiliar man. He found Swanson near the intersection of Fort Ross and Bohan Dillon roads, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

The deputy searched a backpack Swanson was carrying and found matches and lighters “which may have been used to start the vegetation fire,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

While Swanson was being arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and a probation violation, the deputy making the arrest said Swanson struggled and spit on him.

Later, a nearby resident reported finding her house “ransacked” and missing a backpack and other items found in Swanson’s possession, leading authorities to seek an additional burglary charge.

Cal-Fire investigators have started to examine Swanson’s possible role in starting the brush fire. He remains in the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of a $6,000 bail

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or On Twitter @wsreports.