A man has been ordered in federal court to pay $27,500 after causing a wildfire that burned 70 acres in the Red River Gorge in October, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release.
Jonathon Meyer tossed a firecracker off a ridge while he and a group of friends were camping in the Nada Tunnel area of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Patrol Captain Kimberly Kipp of the U.S. Forest Service said. The group was "a bunch of college buddies," she said, from the University of Louisville who, when they realized that the forest had been set ablaze about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 12, fled the campground without notifying other campers of the danger or calling emergency workers.
A campfire ban was in place because of dry conditions in the forest at the time, Kipp said.
After a bench trial July 27, a federal judge ordered that a charge of building a fire when a ban is in place be dismissed and sealed, because Meyer pleaded guilty to two citations and agreed to pay the fines, according to court documents.
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According to court documents, charges against three others in the group were also dismissed, and charges against five others are on hold. The U.S. Forest Service said in the press release that each of those defendants agreed to pay fines of $6,700.