FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (Lawfuel) – Federal charges were filed today against three campers from Texas for allegedly leaving their campfire unattended therefore causing what is known as the X Fire in the Kaibab National Forest near the southern boundary of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona.
Daniel Alan Burroughs, 23, of Tatum, Texas; Michael Zachary Dunn, 24, of Allen, Texas; and Lindsey Jo McKinley, 24, of Gilmer, Texas were charged on May 1, 2008, with the federal misdemeanor offenses of leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished on Federal lands; causing timber, trees, slash, grass to burn on Federal lands; leaving a fire without completely extinguishing it on Federal lands; and allowing fire to escape from control on Federal lands. All three will make their initial appearance in federal court at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, 2008 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey.
According to the criminal complaint filed today, the trio left their camp site in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at which time their unextinguished campfire, fanned by high winds, emitted hot embers outside of the campfire ring onto the adjacent forest floor near Forest Road 688 on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest located near the southern boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. The three campers were interviewed Wednesday when they returned to their campsite to retrieve a tent. They cooperated with authorities and were not taken into custody. Reports in the media that arrests were made in the case are incorrect.
As of this morning, the fire had burned 2,030 acres of National Forest System land nine miles south of Grand Canyon Village and was 60 percent contained. No structures burned. Structures at a nearby ranch used for horses were briefly threatened when fire swept through the area but are not considered threatened at this time.
All the charges are class B misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of six months in jail, five years probation, $5000 fine and restitution for the fire suppression costs. In determining an actual sentence, the assigned judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Grand Canyon
National Park Service. The prosecution is being handled by Camille Bibles, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Flagstaff.
CASE NUMBER: M-08-04097
RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-102(X Fire)