DA pulls plea bargain option for fire-ban violators
Ryan Summerlin June 26, 2012
In solidarity with Eagle and Summit County Sheriff’s Office efforts to enforce a Stage 2 fire ban, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert announced Monday his office will not offer plea bargains to individuals caught violating the restrictions.
Violators will face $150 fines for the first offense, $500 fines for the second and $1,000 for all subsequent offenses, according to a statement from the DA.
“With fires breaking out all over the state and the extreme fire danger, it is important to our safety that we take a hard line on these violations,” Hurlbert stated in the release. “Ultimately, I hope that the no plea bargain policy will help people to think twice before having an illegal fire and that everyone will have a safe and fun summer.”
The White River National Forest, as well as Eagle County, are under Stage 2 fire bans, which prohibit the use of fireworks and open fires as well as other activities that could potentially trigger a blaze.
This is only the second time the DA has invoked a no-plea-bargain policy for fire-ban violators. The first was in 2002, when the county was also under a Stage 2 fire ban.
Following a winter of record-low snowfall in Eagle County and the early onset of warm, dry weather, fire danger ratings in Eagle County have spiked to “extreme,” the highest slot on a five-level scale. Local towns have canceled planned fireworks displays as long-range weather forecasts project ongoing dry conditions.