MANSON — Investigators believe a Manson brush fire started Saturday after an 18-year-old man used fireworks to blow up a mailbox.

Michael P. Popov of Everett was arrested after he told Chelan County sheriff’s deputies he put fireworks inside a mailbox in the area of Grade Creek Road and Joe Creek Road.

The fire was reported about 1:30 p.m. Saturday and grew to 14.5 acres.

A witness told deputies she saw a black car parked near the mailbox and then it fled at a high speed after multiple shots or explosions, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Sunday in Chelan County Superior Court.

Deputies stopped a black Volkswagen Jetta driven by Popov shortly after on Grade Creek Road.

Popov told deputies he put three mortars inside a mailbox, but said he didn’t actually light the fireworks, according to the affidavit. He declined to tell deputies who lit the mortars.

Popov was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson and third-degree malicious mischief. He’s being held at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.

The fire only burned brush, but nearby homes in the fire’s path were issued Level 1 evacuation notices.

Fire crews from five local fire districts, the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources helped extinguish, the affidavit said.

Pete O'Cain: 664-7152

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