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Federal firefighter Terry Barton initially reported the fire, claiming she discovered an abandoned campfire after smelling smoke on one of her patrols. She told her supervisors she threw dirt on the fire and thought she had extinguished it before it burst out of control.
Investigators found several inconsistencies in Barton’s account, however, and confronted her with evidence her story was a concoction. She broke down and “admitted” she had accidentally set the fire by burning a letter from her estranged husband. When that story, too, was disproven by investigators, Barton admitted deliberately setting the fire.
“I’m shocked and with a lot of other people, in a state of disbelief,” said regional forester Rick Cables of the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. “I’m saddened to say that one of our employees has admitted to starting the ... fire.”
While Cables expressed sadness that one of his coworkers had deliberately set the fire, it should not have come as a surprise. Barton’s actions fit a disturbing pattern in recent years of government workers deliberately setting fires on lands removed from private ownership and “entrusted” to the government.
Federal firefighter starts Arizona blaze
Another such fire, in fact, was set in Arizona and began raging out of control the very day the media reported the discrepancies in Barton’s claim that she had inadvertently ignited the Colorado fire with her husband’s letter.
On June 30, a contract firefighter for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs was charged with deliberately starting a fire outside the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. That blaze erupted into the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
Leonard Gregg admitted starting the fire, as well as another one that was quickly extinguished, in order to gain work. Gregg worked as a contract firefighter for the federal government, and he was paid according to how often he was called to fight fires.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” Gregg said in federal court, before a magistrate judge told him to refrain from making any statements of guilt.
The Arizona fire torched 452,000 acres of forest in eastern Arizona, destroyed more than 400 homes, and forced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people.
In Alaska, a fire started by government biologists torched 100,000 acres and came perilously close to igniting the town of McGrath
One type of arsonist is a "hero," Sesniak said. An example is John Orr. He was a fire captain and arson investigator with the Glendale Fire Department in Southern California. Orr was convicted of setting three fires in 1987.
9 Chicago Unionists & Official Charged with Arson
Seven members and two prospective members of a union local in Chicago that represents motion picture projectionists were indicted for allegedly waging a multi-state campaign of violence, vandalism and arson in retaliation against three major theater companies in the midst of collective bargaining disputes, Justice Department officials announced on Nov. 7. A 14-count federal grand jury indictment linking a series of assaults and arson incidents at 20 theaters in 10 states in 1998 and 1999 was unsealed following the arrest of four defendants -- including the union local’s current business manager, Albin C. Brenkus -- in the Chicago area early today, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
The indictment alleges that various defendants conspired to commit arson and conspired to travel from Illinois across state lines to commit arson, typically by activating incendiary chlorine and brake fluid devices in movie theaters from New York to Texas. The incidents – seven in Illinois and others in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin – occurred while movies were being shown, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of patrons, disruption of business, and, in some cases, property damage from smoke and fire. The defendants allegedly intended to intimidate representatives, employees and customers of the theater companies to coerce the companies into labor agreements with their union
Denver -- An appeals court Thursday threw out a 12-year state prison sentence given to a former forestry worker who started the largest wildfire in Colorado history.
The Colorado Court of Appeals said state District Judge Edward Colt gave Terry Lynn Barton too harsh a sentence and had at least "the appearance of prejudice" because smoke from the fire had prompted him to leave his home for a night.
At the time of the fire, Barton was working as a U.S. Forest Service employee, responsible for ticketing people who violated the fire ban
As of Wednesday morning, here’s a breakdown of military assets either already deployed or on alert:
• Four C-130 Hercules cargo planes equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS)
• Six fire trucks
• CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter
• 3 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
• 550 volunteer firefighters
• 1500 guardsmen for general response
• 100 medical personnel
• Eight C-130 Hercules cargo planes equipped with MAFFS
• CH-47 Chinook helicopter
• S-70 Firehawk helicopter
• Five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters
• 10 firetrucks and 40 firefighters
• Brush truck (designed to fight wildfires)
• Two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters
• Two MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters equipped with 420-gal. troughs
• 40 additional helicopters on standby
• An Aegis cruiser, a guided-missile cruiser and two fast frigates to assist with evacuation
California has offered $US400,000 ($A520,000) for the capture of an arsonist behind a blaze that killed four firemen and has scorched more than 16,200 hectares east of Los Angeles.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the desert region swept by the wildfire whipped up by strong, gusting winds, and set a state reward for the arsonist of $US100,000, subsequently increased to a total of $US400,000 by the neighbouring counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, the site of the blaze.
"The fires continue to expand and create a situation of extreme peril for the firefighters, the residents and the businesses of the county," Mr Schwarzenegger's office said in a statement declaring the state of emergency on Friday.
"The situation is beyond the capability and control of the county," it added, noting high winds fanning the flames which are threatening residences and commercial buildings. Only 5 per cent of the fire had been controlled on Friday despite the efforts of some 1,750 firefighters.
Authorities said the fire was deliberately set early Thursday in the scrub forest desert 200 kilometres east of Los Angeles.
Four firemen died and one was severely burned when a fire engine and its five-man crew got caught in an inferno of rapidly shifting flames shooting up to 30 metres high on Thursday.
Originally posted by stompk
"the police were flying around in a helicopter, looking for looters, and saw this guy on a motorcycle stop on the side of the road, and shoot a flame into the forest, starting a fire. They captured him and now have him in custody"
Originally posted by justyc
the bbc website is reporting a story that an unnamed young boy who was 'playing with matches' has confessed to starting the buckweed fire. he was sent home after confessing.