Two Idaho Falls residents were sentenced this week for setting a wildfire that occurred on public lands in Eastern Idaho in 2003, U.S. Attorney Tom Moss announced. Both men pled guilty to the charges in November 2008.
Brad Sims, 34, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for one felony count of setting a wildfire. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Sims to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.
Jonathan Barrow, 28, was sentenced to three years probation, of which three months will be home detention with electronic monitoring, for one misdemeanor count of setting a fire. The lesser charge for Barrow resulted from his early cooperation.
Sims and Barrow were ordered to pay $167,820.54 in restitution for damages to utilities and for the full costs of the fire-fighting effort. The 2,766 acre wildfire, which was started on July 19, 2003, burned a five-mile section of utility poles. It was started at mile marker 282 on U.S. Highway 20 between Idaho Falls and Arco. The fire was intentionally set using fireworks as an ignition device.
“We aggressively investigate all human-caused wildfires, especially when there is evidence that the fires were intentionally set,” said BLM Special Agent in Charge Loren Good. Arsonists not only destroy private property and natural resources on public lands, but they also endanger the lives of the public and the firefighters who are responsible for suppressing the fires. Of paramount concern are the safety and security of our communities and our fire crews.”
During the investigation, Bureau of Land Management Special Agents elicited the help of a Special Agent from the Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General, because the wildfire burned land of the Idaho National Laboratory west of Idaho Falls.