Feds Recoup Costs in Four Forest Fires

Feds Recoup Costs in Four Forest Fires

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The federal government will recover nearly $400,000 it spent to fight four summer forest fires between 1996 and 2000.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah announced Tuesday it has reached settlements in the cases, which represent 1,800 acres of charred land.

The settlements are:

--Nick Gentry, of Alpine, will pay $118,500 for a July 2000 fire in Box Elder Canyon. Gentry failed to make certain a campfire was extinguished before leaving the Uinta National Forest, and the fire spread into a 35-acre blaze.

--Gentry's mother, Luann, was sentenced in January 2002 to 12 months of probation and 80 hours of community service for telling a U.S. Forest Service investigator that her son, then 16, did not start the blaze. A firefighter herself, Luann Gentry admitted she knew her son was camping with friends in the canyon on July 20, 2002.

--Harsco Corp., of Camp Hill, Penn., must pay $79,684 for a July 1999 fire caused by sparks from a railroad track grinder. The 804-acre fire was in Juab County on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

--Brady Roundy, of Spanish Fork, has agreed to pay $100,000 for a 148-acre blaze near Sterling Hollow Canyon in the Uinta National Forest. Roundy was target-shooting at a cardboard target in August 1996 when his bullet hit and severed a Utah Power & Light 138,000-volt power line. The line fell to the ground, starting the fire.

--Daniel Shurtleff will also pay $100,000 for the June 2000 blaze ignited when he tossed his cigarette into a pile of dry leaves and cottonwood seeds near his Springville home. The fire burned 813 acres and destroyed several homes before it moved up the mountainside into the Uinta National Forest.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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