A 16-year-old boy has been charged with third-degree arson for allegedly launching off a mortar-style firework that set 28 acres ablaze in Idaho, police said.
Two fire crews with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responded to the inferno around 9 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Eagle Police Department.
Upon an investigation by Ada County Sheriff’s deputies, evidence pointed to a group of teenagers driving around in an SUV on BLM’s land had started the fire using fireworks, police reported.
The others warned the unidentified 16-year-old who had allegedly set off the firework in the group not to light it in the area for fear it may cause a brush fire, cops said.
The teen allegedly ignored their warnings and set the explosive off “a brief time later” while the SUV was parked and caused the fire.
The group attempted to extinguish the fire but failed.
The fire spread through 28 acres after it was allegedly started by a firework.Eagle Police/Facebook
With no other options, one of the other boys in the group called emergency officials.
When deputies arrived, the boy allegedly responsible for setting off the firework fled from the SUV and hid in an attempt to evade arrest.
“Deputies found him a short time later by a canal in the area” before slapping the teen in cuffs and transporting him to the Ada County Juvenile Detention Center, according to law enforcement.
The 16-year-old charged with arson had allegedly dismissed warnings from the group he was with to not set off the firework in fear it may cause a brush fire.Eagle Police/Facebook
Charges for the teen are still pending.
Several other agencies had to assist with putting out the fire, with the crews able to contain the raging blaze after midnight on Sunday, according to Eagle Fire Department.
Aerial fireworks are illegal to shoot off in Idaho, although it’s legal to purchase them in the state.
Over 2,500 of Idaho’s 9 million acres have ignited around the state since the start of 2023, according to a government report.
The 16-year-old charges for starting the blaze are still pending.Eagle Police/Facebook
Humans account for 117 of the 277 separate fire-related incidents.
Over Independence Day weekend in neighboring Washington state, fireworks were to blame for six small wildfires, according to KATU.
The six blazes were quickly contained, said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources told the outlet back in July.
The small fires had Franz recounting the over 48,000 acres in the state were engulfed in flames after a teen had thrown a firework on a trail off the Columbia River Gorge in 2017.
“That was literally just a firework. So, it shows you how dangerous it is. It shows you how significant that is. I think that fire cost us over $32 million to fight,” Franz told the outlet.
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