Man ordered to pay an additional $11.9 million for starting Catalina Island fire

A contract worker who is accused of accidentally starting a fire on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles has been ordered by a court to pay an additonal $11.9 million in restitution. At an earlier hearing he had been ordered to pay $4 million.

Gary Dennis Hunt was a subcontractor doing some work on a radio tower on the island on May10, 2007 when his cutting torch started a few small fires that he put out. The next day, in spite of extreme fire danger warnings and a prohibition against the use of open flames, he continued to use the torch and started a fire which burned 4,000 acres and caused $20 million in damages to several structures.

Mr. Hunt’s employer is expected to pay the bulk of the restitution through their insurance company.

Here is a video that summarizes the latest developments.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+