JACKSON (WNE) — A man who was working in Yellowstone National Park has been sentenced to three months in jail for starting a fire at the park’s North Entrance and then misleading …
JACKSON (WNE) — A man who was working in Yellowstone National Park has been sentenced to three months in jail for starting a fire at the park’s North Entrance and then misleading investigators.
Curtis J. Faustich, a seasonal concessionaire employee in the park, dropped a lit cigarette on the ground while sitting at a picnic table on July 26; that ignited the fire, a park news release said.
Faustich appeared at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs on Tuesday, Aug. 6, where he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: discarding a lighted material in a hazardous manner and giving false information to an investigator.
Three other misdemeanor citations — of failing to report an incident resulting in resource damage, leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished and being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs — were dismissed as part of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Federal prosecutors had requested four months behind bars, court documents say.
In addition to imposing the jail time, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered Faustich to pay $5,000 in restitution and $50 in special assessments. The judge also ordered Faustich to serve two years of unsupervised probation, during which time he’s banned from entering Yellowstone.
The fire started at about 6 p.m. July 26 and spread across 4 acres of grass and sage between the North Entrance Station and Gardner River.
Crews from Yellowstone, Gardiner, Montana, and Paradise Valley, Montana, contained the blaze, including a half-acre spot fire on the other side of the river. The quick response prevented threats to visitors and buildings, the park said.
Law enforcement officials in Yellowstone expressed thanks to unnamed individuals who called the park’s tip line “and provided timely incident details” in connection with the case.