Woman ordered to pay $8m after starting 50,000-acre wildfire to keep 'bored' firefighter friends busy

It cost £4.7million to suppress the fire, which Sadie Renee Johnson started in July 2013 and which wasn't fully out until two months later

A woman who started a £4.7million, 50,000-acre wildfire because her fire-fighter friends “were bored and needed work” is due to be sentenced on 3 September.

Sadie Renee Johnson, 23, of Warm Springs in Oregon, started the blaze by lighting a small object using the cigarette lighter in a car she was travelling in before chucking the lit item out of the window.

She was a passenger in the car, which had been travelling on Route 3 near Sunnyside Drive on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, at 9.15am on 20 July 2013 when she threw the small firework “into the brush along the side of the road”, the Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon says.

She pleaded guilty on 19 May to setting brush and timber on fire, which had at the time, within minutes, spread and ultimately ravaged 51,480 acres by the time it had been controlled.

It was not declared out until 13 September 2013, with the total cost to the Bureau of Indian Affairs amounting to $7,901,973 – Johnson has been ordered to pay all of this back.

Sadie Renee Johnson Sadie Renee Johnson According to officials, Johnson said she didn’t mean for it to reach 30,000 acres, thinking that it would be a simple two-day fire.

Two days after she started it she wrote on Facebook: “like my fire?” and later told police that her firefighter friends "were bored and needed work".

The Department of Justice said it released the details on Friday to highlight to danger of such reckless actions, particularly those in the dry summer season, reports KTVZ.

It is understood that no structures were destroyed, however there were a few dozen evacuations as well as the closure of a nearby resort and highway while 800 firefighters tackled the blaze.

In addition to the restitution, she faces five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release, however a custodial sentence of 18 months has reportedly been recommended to the judge.

See a 2013 video of residents speaking about the fire here.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Qualified NVQ Assessors

£19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - £80k - Javascript / MEAN

£45000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ambitious, entrepreneurial busi...

Recruitment Genius: Fitter - Plant / Tool

£20000 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Fitter is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sage 200 Consultant

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They have a unique reputation f...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food