Man Who Filmed Himself Starting Massive Wildfire Gets 20 Years

The video was a key piece of evidence in his conviction
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2016 4:56 PM CDT

A man who took a video of himself after starting a fire that would go on to burn more than 150 square miles of land was sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $60 million fine, the AP reports. According to Reuters, Wayne Huntsman pleaded guilty to three counts of arson Friday for starting the 2014 King Fire in Northern California that took hundreds of firefighters a month to get under control. His sentence was increased because a number of firefighters were injured and 12 homes and dozens of other structures were destroyed. Thousands of residents were displaced by the fire. Huntsman originally pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In September 2014, a retired firefighter picked Huntsman up escaping the area of the blaze, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Huntsman showed the man a video of himself standing between two fires. "Listen, I got fire all around me," Huntsman says in the video. "I'm stuck in the middle, babe." The man made a recording of the video and turned it over to the authorities, who arrested Huntsman within days. The DA says Huntsman was trying to look like a hero in the video, but it appeared the fires were purposefully set because there were two of them and Huntsman seemed to be enjoying himself. Meanwhile, Huntsman's sister is accused of killing two young children, whose bodies were found in a storage locker in Redding, California, according to SFist. (More wildfires stories.)

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