Woman sentenced to four years in prison for starting two fires in Wyoming

She was arrested in Pennsylvania and initially charged with starting six fires in the Moran, Wyoming area

Flagstaff Fire

Above: Flagstaff Fire on the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Moran, WY. Credit USFS

(Originally published at 2:41 p.m. MST January 12, 2018)

Stephanie Joy Nicole Dodson, 45, of Everett, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on January 2, 2018 on two felony counts of timber set afire. Ms. Dodson was arrested in Pennsylvania. She received 53 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised probation upon release from custody, and was ordered to pay a $200.00 special assessment and $105,712.68 in restitution to the United States Forest Service.

Ms. Dodson was charged with eight felony counts related to various fires that investigators believe she started between August 14, 2016, and August 29, 2016, in the Buffalo Valley Region, six of which she started on August 29.

In exchange for dismissing six felony counts, Ms. Dodson pleaded guilty to starting two fires, the Pacific Creek Fire in Grand Teton National Park on August 22, and the Flagstaff Fire on August 29 in Bridger Teton National Forest. The Flagstaff Fire was by far the most serious due to the property threatened and the number of resources used to extinguish the fire.

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+

6 thoughts on “Woman sentenced to four years in prison for starting two fires in Wyoming”

    1. The Jasper Fire in the South Dakota Black Hills was also started by a woman who was convicted and sentenced to prison. It was the largest fire ever within the Black Hills National Forrest. It also burned areas of the Jewell Cave National Monument and private land.

      1. Right, Carl. She admitted to stopping to pee while driving on Hwy. 16 west of Jewel Cave National Monument on August 24, 2000. She said she started the fire, stood there and watched it grow, then got in her car and continued down the highway. I arrived about two hours later and took a photo of the pyrocumulus that had already formed. After a few days it had burned 83,000 acres. Governor Bill Janklow famously interfered with the strategies employed by the Type 1 Incident Management Team, prompting the Incident Commander to have U.S. Marshals standby at the Incident Command Post ready to put a halt to any actions that put firefighters in danger.

  1. Very reprehensible behavior, glad she was caught. Sounds awkward under the circumstances to say great photo, but indeed, it’s very good.

    1. Heh. Both photos are nice, but referring specifically to yours, the smoke cloud, which was greatly more interesting after reading the earlier article about how those clouds develop and behave. 🙂

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