In 2017, The Eagle Creek Fire burned for almost three months forcing hundreds of people to evacuate homes and scorching nearly 50,000 acres of land. Last week, Hood River County Circuit Court Judge John Olson ordered the teen who started the destructive fire to pay damages of $36 million.
According to documents, the teen who was 15 at the time, admitted to several counts of depositing burning material on Forest Service land. He also confessed to criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and reckless burning.
Since the teen is unable to “pay the judgment in full” the court authorized “the Hood River Juvenile Department to establish a payment schedule.
According to the judgment, the court can delay the enforcement of the penalty, create a payment schedule suitable for the youth offender, and even forgive any restitution owed after 10 years if the teen completes probation and maintains a clean criminal record.
“I’m satisfied the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated,” Judge Olson wrote.
The bulk of the restitution amount, $21 million of it, is earmarked for the U.S. Forest Service.