Teen must repay $37 million for starting Columbia Gorge wildfire

Payments can be halted after 10 years if the 15-year-old meets the terms of his probation.

Posted: May 21, 2018 2:49 PM
Updated: May 21, 2018 2:51 PM

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (AP) - A teenager who started a major wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution for at least the next decade, though it's unlikely the boy will ever cover his nearly $37 million bill.

The Oregonian reports that the Hood River County Circuit judge issued an opinion on Monday awarding the restitution to cover the costs of firefighting, repair and restoration to the gorge and damage to homes.

The 15-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, said he threw two fireworks last September that caused flames to spread quickly, causing evacuations and devastation to a major outdoor tourist attraction.

The boy can set up a payment plan, though payments can be halted after 10 years as long as he complies, completes probation and doesn't commit other crimes.

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