Man charged in Wolcott-area wildland fire
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado – An Eagle-Vail man has been charged with a misdemeanor after he allegedly started a wildland fire north of Wolcott on May 30.
Bryan Ortiz, 24, of Eagle-Vail, accidentally started the fire when he shot off some mortar-type fireworks, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Ortiz and some friends made an effort to extinguish the fire, but were unsuccessful so they called 911, police said.
Ortiz was charged with firing woods or prairie, a class two misdemeanor, which is similar to fourth degree arson. He is also being billed $6,000 in restitution to cover the expenses incurred by the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and the Bureau of Land Management.
The fire burned about 1 acre of Bureau of Land Management land. No homes were damaged and no one was hurt.
Local fire and law enforcement agencies urged people to use extreme caution with fireworks, camp fires and any other flammable materials as fire danger is very high.
“Eagle County looks green but warmer temperatures are drying out fuels rapidly,” said Sheriff Joseph Hoy. “Fireworks are illegal on federal land year-round.”
Fireworks can easily ignite fires in residential and forested areas and cause significant injuries. When it comes to personal fireworks, everyone should remember that if it flies into the air or explodes, it’s illegal.