Tags: Colorado | Boys | Charged | Wildfires

Colorado Boys Charged in Wildfires

Wednesday, 08 May 2002 12:00 AM

Three teen-agers were charged with two counts of arson in a wildfire that burned 2,600 acres near Bailey, Colo., in April. The boys, a 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds, allegedly started the fire near their school while smoking.

Charges filed Tuesday stated the boys "did unlawfully, knowingly and recklessly start and maintain a fire ... and in doing so placed numerous residents of Park County in danger of death and serious bodily injury."

About 1,000 residents were evacuated from homes because of the Snaking fire near Bailey, but no homes were lost. A few barns and thousands of acres of timber burned. The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $2.6 million.

If the juveniles are convicted and their actions are determined to be deliberate, the parents could be liable for the cost under Colorado law. In Colorado Springs, El Paso County officials charged two boys with arson in a 35-acre grass fire they allegedly set Monday. Firefighters snuffed out the fire before it damaged any buildings in the rural area.

"The two boys were lighting bushes on fire to see what would happen when the wind and extreme dry conditions expanded the flames," said El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Melissa Hartman.

Meanwhile, about 2,400 residents evacuated earlier near Evergreen because of another fire were back in their homes Wednesday and fire managers expected to fully contain the 345-acre Black Canyon fire by late in the day, according to Lynn Young, a Forest Service spokesman in Denver.

Young warned, however, that the fire season was still young and with drought conditions the public should be aware of the high fire danger. He said investigators now believe the Black Canyon fire was also caused by humans, not lightning as believed earlier.

Humans are also being blamed for a dangerous 600-acre fire in northern New Mexico, about 10 miles north of Pecos in the Santa Fe National Forest. About 300 people were evacuated from the Pecos Canyon, and they were still out of their homes Wednesday.

"We made a lot of good progress on Tuesday," Charlie Jankiewicz, a fire information officer, said Wednesday. "The fire did not grow much in size although it still has potential. We saw a lot of continuous air attacks using helicopters and slurry drops."

Jankiewicz said the Dalton fire is about 40 percent contained and residents in the canyon area may be out of their homes through Thursday. He said there are about 500 permanent and vacation-type homes in the canyon. No homes have been lost, he said.

A red-flag warning, high fire danger, was posted for Thursday with 80-degree temperatures, winds from 35 to 40 mph, and humidity levels in the single digits.

In southern New Mexico, fire officials hoped to fully contain the 15,400-acre Penasco fire by the end of operations Wednesday. The human-caused fire broke out April 30 southeast of Cloudcroft and destroyed 20 homes and outbuildings.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Three teen-agers were charged with two counts of arson in a wildfire that burned 2,600 acres near Bailey, Colo., in April. The boys, a 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds, allegedly started the fire near their school while smoking. Charges filed Tuesday stated the boys did...
Colorado,Boys,Charged,Wildfires
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2002-00-08
Wednesday, 08 May 2002 12:00 AM
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