A juvenile has been charged with two counts of juvenile delinquency in relation to starting the Weber Fire, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced. The fire burned over 10,000 acres of federal, state and private lands near Mancos, Colorado, causing over $5,000,000 in damages. The charges were filed in a two-count Information on October 29.
The defendant will receive a summons to appear in federal court in Durango on a date certain.
According to the Information, on June 22, the juvenile willfully set on fire any timber, underbrush, or grass or other inflammable material on lands owned by the United States Government. Specifically, the juvenile gathered up leaves and underbrush around a bush, and using a Bic lighter, lit the underbrush causing it to burn and ignite nearby timber, all located on Bureau of Land Management land in Weber Canyon in Montezuma County.
Further, the Information states that the juvenile willfully caused more than $1,000 in damage to United States Government property by lighting the underbrush on fire.
Under the terms of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the government is not allowed to disclose any identifying information regarding the identity or other facts about the juvenile.
If convicted of juvenile delinquency, the juvenile defendant faces not more than the lesser of (1) the date when the juvenile becomes twenty-one years old, (2) the maximum of the guideline range, applicable to an otherwise similarly situated adult, or (3) the maximum term of imprisonment that would be authorized if the juvenile had been tried and convicted as an adult; plus restitution; and 5 years juvenile delinquent supervision.
The fire was investigated by the Bureau of Land Management, with assistance from the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.
The juvenile defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Candelaria.
The charges in the Information are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.