This sentence is surprising...

8:24 p.m. on November 8, 2012 (EST)
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but just.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-usa-wildfire-sentence-idUSBRE8A802520121109

Previously, the Federal Magistrate had given them 48 hours in jail and 200 hours of community service, a very mild slap on the wrist. So, it is surprising that the same judge ruled that they must pay this restitution for damages. They can only hope now that the $79 million cost of the fire fighting isn't levied against them in civil suits.

3:14 p.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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Just had a local couple get hit with over 130 poaching charges. They got fined $100,000 and had to give up their Hummer.

$79 million would be even better. Hit'em where it hurts!

7:05 p.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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they only had to spend two days in jail? I vote for more jail time.

7:22 a.m. on November 10, 2012 (EST)
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I dont know guys. This nearly happened to me a few years back.  The two of us were able to put out the blaze before the fire trucks got there. They must have felt alot of guilt to come forward. Most people wouldn't of. I kind of feel sorry for them.

It just goes to show just how fast a little mistake can get out of control very fast. I know because I've been there.

Kudos to the two for coming forward, raising their hands, and admiting that it was them that did it. That would be a hard thing to do.

9:36 p.m. on November 10, 2012 (EST)
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Hopefully this sort of sentence will remind people to be more careful of their campfires .  I'm often shocked to see the places people build them (e.g. in dry forest or ridge tops with no water anywhere nearby).  That having been said, I wonder how an ordinary person (not one of the "1%") comes up with $3.7M, not to mention $79M...

4:19 p.m. on November 11, 2012 (EST)
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I stumbled onto this site while researching another matter but found this subject close to home.

We work with a local volunteer fire department surrounded by national forest and have experienced hugely destructive fires set by man (a woman in one case).  The latest, a few months ago, destroyed nearly 350 homes.  No arrests so far.  But a woman who finally "confessed" to causing a much larger, in area, fire years ago was sentenced to several years in prison and served five.  While her story apparently continues to change, it is clear she is more culpable than the cousins and a far less honorable person.

Having worked in a small way on these fires and nearly losing our home in one of them, I still do not have an opinion as to how best to deal with those whose accidental and unintended carelessness causes destruction, but I would not strongly disagree with the fine and brief jail time given these two men. 

The woman was a neighbor, and it's fair to say most of us affected did support quite a bit more prison time for the woman, not simply subjectively, but due to the circumstances.

If those men had been found through investigation, then a stiffer penalty would have been warranted in my opinion.  But, apparently, they came forward of their own volition. There just isn't a one size fits all solution to these things.

10:46 a.m. on November 12, 2012 (EST)
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These men did not confess, they were found as a result of weeks of investigation. Also, they did not clear any combustible material away from the fire. When they discovered the uncontrolled fire as they were returning to their campsite, they fled and never returned; leaving their two dogs tied there. When fire investigators returned to the campsite two weeks later, they found one dog dead, but the other still alive.

see http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/24/20110824wallow-fire-cousins-charged.html

1:14 p.m. on November 12, 2012 (EST)
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Or cleaning all the firetrucks

8:38 p.m. on November 12, 2012 (EST)
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I here by retract my above post.

7:49 a.m. on November 13, 2012 (EST)
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And I hereby point to my last paragraph.

8:34 a.m. on November 13, 2012 (EST)
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I read the second link and it clearly states the cousins reported the fire to a sheriff that picked them up on a road they hiked back out too. They tried to save their dogs but the smoke and fire was too thick. The Forrest service didn't respond to it for a couple days until it grew out of control. The punishment is excessive. Justice was not well served.

8:47 p.m. on November 13, 2012 (EST)
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MoZee,

Yes, the cousins reported the fire and gave information to the Forest Service, but investigation at the scene showed that some of the cousins' statements were false. It took months of investigation to build a case because the cousins did not confess to any wrongdoing.

Those men were purportedly experienced outdoorsmen. They should have shoveled dirt on the fire and/or poured water on it, even if they believed it "dead". Further, they made no effort to clear the fire area of combustibles. 

"There had been no attempt to clear any flammable materials from around the campfire to prevent its escape," according to court documents.

And who wouldn't go back afterwards to, at least, bury their dogs. One dog tied for two weeks and still alive. 

11:17 a.m. on November 14, 2012 (EST)
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How's the surviving pup?

12:10 p.m. on November 14, 2012 (EST)
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When this happened to me I was burning trash left by other campers in the area. I was burning in an open sand area, and was around 15 yards away picking up more. I turned around and flames were 20-25 feet high. I told the fire men that I thought some paper floated out and landed on a small sand pine then caught the grass on fire., I told them that I had done this.

They told me it was another fire that started it (I had the only fire in the area).

The thing that stuck me was how fast it happened.

Lesson learned. I now bag and carry out thier garbage.

December 20, 2014
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