Oregon ranchers indicted for setting fires over 24-year period

From the UPI:

Two Oregon ranchers have been indicted for what federal investigators say was a string of wildfires they allegedly set on federal lands dating back 24 years.

Dwight Hammond, 68, and his 41-year-old son, Steven, were charged with setting unauthorized fires to burn off brush, including one that was allegedly deliberately set in an area where a firefighting crew was already working.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland said in a written statement the pair faced a hearing Monday in Eugene on charges that could fetch them as long as 20 years in prison.

According to the indictment, the Hammonds operated a ranch in Diamond, Oregon and apparently took it upon themselves to set uncontrolled fires on Bureau of Land Management range around Steens Mountain because they felt the BLM was moving too slowly in its controlled burn program.

The pair allegedly set fires that burned a total of 45,000 acres, often during dry-lightning storms in an alleged attempt to cover their actions.

The indictment charged the pair with threatening to assault federal firefighters by setting a fire in 2006 in locations both below and above a BLM fire crew that was working another hillside blaze.

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Thanks Dick

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+