HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) – Three 18-year-old men have been released on their own recognizance after being charged with starting a wildfire near Hamilton that burned more than 13 square miles of forest land, destroyed 16 homes and 49 outbuildings.
KTMF-TV reports that Steven Banks, Tyler Landon Johnson and Cody William Knez made their initial court appearances Tuesday in Ravalli County Justice Court on felony and misdemeanor negligent arson charges.
County Attorney Bill Fulbright asked that they be released on their own recognizance. The judge said they could not bring or handle anything flammable on forest lands. Their District Court arraignments are set for later this month.
Prosecutors say the three Hamilton men and a 16-year-old girl failed to completely extinguish a campfire, sparking the Roaring Lion fire, which began on July 31 and led to the evacuation of around 600 homes. The girl is charged in Juvenile Court.
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