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Men pay $5K each for summer's $2.1M Dump Fire

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - Feb 5th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

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PROVO — Two men charged in connection with the Dump Fire that burned in Saratoga Springs in June have resolved the cases against them.

Both Kenneth Nielsen, 38, of Washington City, and Jeffery Conant, 42, of Woodinville, Wash., both pleaded no contest to using prohibited targets, a class B misdemeanor, in 4th District Court Monday. In exchange for their pleas, a charge of reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor, that had been leveled against both men was dismissed.

Judge Samuel McVey sentenced both men to six months in jail, but suspended the jail time. He also suspended the $1,000 fine leveled against the two men. He ordered both Nielsen and Conant to pay $5,000 in restitution, according to court records.

Charging documents indicated that the packaging of an explosive target and a fragment of a detonated target were found adjacent to the fire's point of origin. Investigators identified Nielsen's fingerprints on the target packaging, charges state.

Prosecutors agreed not to request any jail time.

"The state stipulates they aren't alleging the unlawful use of the target was the actual cause of the fire," court documents state.

The Dump Fire burned about 5,500 acres, forcing hundreds to evacuate from their homes and cost $2.1 million to suppress, according to the charges.

The burn scar left on the mountain above a Saratoga Springs neighborhood also contributed to a massive mudslide that flooded 11 homes in August.

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