Defying Cops, Brothers Save Home From Fire

Amateurs' risky controlled burn lands Big Sur man in jail
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2008 11:31 AM CDT
Firefighter Brian Britton, of Ojai, Calif., throws flares unto a hillside during a backburn operation along Highway 1 in Big Sur, Calif., Sunday, July 6, 2008. Firefighters continue to fight the Basin...   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – When wildfires threatened their 55-acre family compound, two brothers in Big Sur, Calif., fought back with a risky tactic—a controlled burn. The plan saved the homes on the property they've cultivated for decades, but one of the brothers is now facing jail time for disobeying police orders, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Ross Curtis quickly made bail but is due back in court next week. The family and their tenants and friends spent 2 weeks hauling away vegetation to clear fire breaks around the property. "I understand what's going on. They don't want a bunch of idiots setting off fires that could do more harm than good," said Micah Curtis, who planned the burn. "But we saved our homes."