Trio named in Spotted Tail fire charges

The Chadron Record newspaper says the U-S Forest Service has given in to a Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) request and released the names of the 3 Chadron men facing federal charges for allegedly starting and failing to put out a fire on the Nebraska National Forest in October.

The Forest Service had announced the filing of charges shortly after the Spotted Tail Fire, but refused to identify the defendants. The newspaper responded with their request, which has led to the release of the names.

27-year old Jacob Marshall and 26-year old William Jones each face federal counts of using an explosive and leaving a fire without extinguishing it, while 26-year old Andrew Meister is charged only with leaving a fire without extinguishing it.

The Spotted Tail Fire burned 83 acres in the Nebraska National Forest between October 20th and 22nd while the Forest was still under restrictions that banned the use of explosives.

Marshall, Jones, and Meister are accused of using exploding targets during recreational shooting on the National Forest, with one of the targets starting the fire. The trio allegedly then fled the area without extinguishing the fire.

Each of the 5 charges carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, but the trio could also be held responsible for the costs of fighting the fire. The initial estimate on suppression costs is $175,000.

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