Teen Responsible for Oregon Wildfire to Pay $36 Million in Restitution

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The court ordered that the fifteen-year-old who started the fire will pay for the damages caused by his actions.

It all began on September 5th, 2017, when a Washington boy chucked fireworks into a canyon nearby a hiking trail in Hood River, Oregon. The result of this prank would later become known as the two-month long Eagle Creek fire, which endangered landmarks, closed Interstate 84 for ten days, and destroyed at least four homes.

Eight months later, on Monday, May 21st, Hood River County Circuit Judge John A. Olson ruled that the teen will pay the $36,618,330 amount on behalf of the victims of the fire, which include the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation.

While acknowledging that the minor would not be able to pay the sum in full, the judge ordered the local juvenile department to devise a payment schedule for the restitution. He cited the “safety valves” in the state law that would allow for the payments to cease after ten years so long as the defendant completes probation, commits no further offenses, and cooperates with payment plans.

In accordance with The Washington Post, the teen was remorseful in court earlier this year, stating, “Every day I think about this terrible decision and its awful consequences. I know I will have to live with my bad decision for the rest of my life.