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Prosecution deferred for teens charged in Montana wildfire

Carie Birkmeier



HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) – Three teens who were charged with failing to fully extinguish a campfire that days later blew up into a wildfire that burned 16 homes in western Montana have reached a deferred prosecution agreement.

Cody Knez, Steven Banks and Tyler Johnson must complete 300 hours of community service and pay 10 percent of their income in restitution for five years. If they complete those conditions, their negligent arson charges would be dismissed.

Some affected homeowners complained about what they considered a light punishment.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said he tried to strike a balance between the landowners who suffered great losses and others who disagreed with the charges that were filed. He said the men had no intention of causing harm.

The Roaring Lion Fire burned over 13 square miles (35 square kilometers) of forest land near Hamilton.

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