Teen who started Eagle Creek Fire ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution

3-d map of the Eagle Creek Fire

Above: 3-D map of the Eagle Creek Fire looking southeast, showing the perimeter at 7:30 p.m. PDT September 5, 2017.

A judge has ordered the teen who started the Eagle Creek Fire last summer to pay restitution totaling $36.6 million.

After a complaint from the teen’s attorney that the judgement was “absurd” District Judge John Olson said during the hearing on Monday that it was “clearly proportionate to the offense”.

Eagle Creek Fire
Firefighters protect the Multnomah Lodge at the Eagle Creek Fire, September 5, 2017. Inciweb.

The fire burned 48,831 acres in the Columbia River Gorge in September, 2017. Most of the fire was on the Oregon side of the river but a burning ember started a spot fire on the Washington side which was quickly extinguished.  The fire required the extended closure of Interstate 84, forced hundreds to evacuate, and poured smoke into Portland.

The judge acknowledged that the teen will have trouble coming up with $36.6 million and allowed him to establish a payment plan. If he completes probation and does not have any additional offenses, after 10 years the court may  grant a full or partial halt of the restitution.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Teen who started Eagle Creek Fire ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution”

  1. Sad tale of a boy held responsible when countless adults are not. 85% of wildfires are human caused so we do need to find and prosecute adults for starting fires. Change the rules and ban campfires for a good start on prevention!

  2. It was that boys atatude when confronted the day he started that tragic fire. But you are most likely spouting off with out know jack about the case.

  3. I was fighting fire by dimoned lake that boy should be sent to prison and pay millions for that

  4. Ken, how do you pay anything if you’re in prison?

    The judge could’ve sentenced him to an reasonable & amount that he might be able to pay back, and a life-time of community service. No out on the community service, ever.

  5. We have a neighbor that started a grassfire on their property, went onto FS land, it was only 10 acres, but a small community. The FS were here for 4-6 days, a tanker, an 8-person crew, a 214 helicopter, est cost $500K. They weren’t charged at all. Of course we were all miffed, to say the least. This isn’t the first time the old man has started a brush fire that got out of control.

    This is in an area where there was a fire in 2000, 345,000-acres through the canyon, the Clear Creek Fire, so we’re obviously wary of fires in the “hood”.

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