Burley Man Sentenced to Pay Over $ 79,000 in Restitution for Causing Five Fires on BLM Lands | USAO-ID
POCATELLO – Scott Halford, 50, of Burley, has been convicted in a United States district court of starting a fire, other than a campfire or industrial gas flaring, regardless of the source Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. announced today. US investigating judge Candy W. Dale ordered Halford to serve six months of house arrest, five years of probation and to pay $ 79,800.68 in restitution.
According to court records, Halford started five fires in the Milner Recreation Area on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land west of Burley. The fires burned hundreds of acres of grass and brush. The fire investigation determined Halford was in the vicinity of the five fires based on surveillance photographs and witness statements. Halford was pictured heading towards or away from the area of origin of two fires within minutes of the blaze being reported. Halford admitted in court that he caused the fires.
“It’s a reminder that the public has a major role to play in fire safety,” Acting US Attorney Gonzalez said. “Everyone needs to be vigilant, especially during our long fire season. We are surrounded by public land, many hectares of which are arid. The cheater is everywhere. It is a fuel that creates dangerous fire conditions, especially in summer. Even law-conscious citizens should be careful not to start accidental fires, ”he added before crediting the cooperative efforts of the BLM and the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, which have led to accusations.
In the past three years, a total of more than 1,900 man-made wildfires have burned more than 500,000 acres in Idaho according to Statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center. So far in 2021, more than 300 man-made wildfires have burned more than 8,800 acres of land in the state.
Idaho’s federal and state land management agencies urge the public to take every precaution to prevent man-made forest fires, and landowners to take action to reduce the risk of forest fires in their homes and land, in the face of the statewide extreme conditions described by the National Interagency Fire Center.