German ‘hippy’ sentenced to prison for deadly island wildfire

The 27-year-old German cave-dweller who ignited a deadly wildfire while burning used toilet paper on a Spanish island has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Scott Verdine Stumpf admitted last year to accidentally starting the August fire while burning used toilet paper — Spanish media outlets reported he had been living in a nearby cave for an extended period of time. In addition to prison, he was ordered to pay the equivalent of about $2 million U.S. dollars in restitution, local media outlets reported.

The wildfire blackened about 5,000 acres and forced hundreds of evacuations on La Palma, a landmass that is part of Spain’s Canary Islands. Francisco Jose Santana, a park ranger and married father of five, died during firefighting operations.

West Mims Fire in Georgia sends ash to Jacksonville, Florida

The sprawling West Mims Fire that has been burning since April, largely in a south Georgia swamp, broke containment lines on Saturday and sent ash falling as far away as downtown Jacksonville, Florida. 

The lightning-caused fire was reported on April 6 in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and has burned more than 135,000 acres. Crews on Saturday dealt with gusty winds and relative humidity levels around 18 percent, which drove the blaze past containment lines and fanned it farther east.

“The fire moved aggressively to the east and southeast against an enhanced air and ground attack today,” officials wrote in a Saturday night InciWeb update. 

The fire and a blanket of falling ash on Saturday unnerved some residents near downtown Jacksonville, the Florida Times-Union reported. 

Similar conditions were forecast for Sunday, and evacuation orders remained in place. Additional heavy air tankers were expected to arrive on Sunday from California and Montana to assist the approximately 535 personnel assigned to the incident.

The West Mims Fire remains just 12 percent contained. No injuries have been reported. Full containment isn’t expected until Nov. 1.