2 Lawn-Mowing Seniors Face $37M Bill Over Wildfire
Oregon holds people financially accountable
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2016 3:31 PM CDT
The charred remains of a pickup and barn are seen in this 2015 file photo from Washington state.   (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)

(Newser) – Two men suspected of starting a wildfire last year that scorched 40 square miles of Oregon forestland could soon get a bill for at least $37 million, reports AP. Jeff Bonebrake with the Oregon Department of Forestry says they're still finalizing firefighting costs for the 2015 Stouts Creek fire that burned east of Canyonville. The agency will send a bill once that's done. The Oregonian reports that fire investigators believe 70-year-old Dominic Decarlo and 64-year-old Cloyd Deardorff used their lawnmowers during hours prohibited by fire restrictions when the blaze started July 30, 2015.

Kyle Reed with the Douglas Forest Protective Association says the men were cited for unlawful use of fire. Decarlo paid $110 in fines and Deardorff paid $440. But Oregon also holds individuals financially responsible for fire suppression costs. The men could not be reached for comment. Bonebrake says people can challenge the costs or their responsibility in the fire.