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Arizona Fires

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Reaction to suspect's arrest

On Sunday, a man who has worked under contract as a firefighter for the Bureau of Indian Affairs was charged in connection with starting the Rodeo fire and one other blaze -- possibly with a profit-making motive.



If convicted of starting fires, Leonard Gregg, 29, could face five years in prison and fines of $250,000 for each charge.

Leonard Gregg, 29, who was arrested Saturday night in Whiteriver on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, was charged with two federal counts of setting the fires near his hometown of Cibecue, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton.


The government suspects Gregg may have started the fire to generate work for himself as a contract firefighter, Charlton said.


No details were provided on the second fire, which began a few miles from the Rodeo blaze. Gregg faces a detention hearing Wednesday.


The Rodeo fire burned more than 130,000 acres and forced the evacuation of the 7,700 residents of Show Low before merging with the Chediski fire June 23. The latter fire also began on the reservation.


Asked about the arrest, Bureau of Indian Affairs firefighter Willie Begay said, "All those firefighters who are out there fight fires diligently, and they fight to put the fire out."


Roy Hall, operations section chief for the Southwest Incident Management Team, said, "It [fire] endangers the lives not only of folks that live near the woods, it endangers the lives of our firefighters. That's the thing that firefighters will take very personally."


No other suspects are being sought in the Rodeo fire, Charlton said. The investigation into the Chediski fire that began June 20 is continuing. That fire reportedly started when an injured hiker lit a fire to signal to a helicopter for help.


Meanwhile, the Prescott and Coronado national forests in Arizona were closed because of the fire potential, and forests in other Western states also were off-limits as the July Fourth holiday approached, said Eileen Andes from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.


U.S. Forest Service Director Dale Bosworth acknowledged Monday that this fire season is difficult, partly because of the Western drought. He said 90 percent of Western fires are started by lightning.


There are 29 large fires burning almost 1 million acres in nine states, nearly all in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.


In other Western blazes Monday, The Associated Press reported that Colorado fire crews contained about 40 percent of a 71,000-acre wildfire ripping through areas north of Durango. An 8,000-acre fire burned 30 buildings in Shields, North Dakota, where one home remains in the 15-person town, the AP said.


A fire in South Dakota's Black Hills had grown to 6,200 acres Monday, spokesman Ivan Irskine told the AP. It had been declared 35 percent contained Sunday after forcing 10,000 to 15,000 residents and tourists to flee the gambling town of Deadwood and the nearby gold mining town of Lead, according to the news agency.





I feel so god damn bad for this guy he sets a fire to hope it will get him a full time job to have enough money to support his family since he cant get a job because he has a 9th grade education and is indian..then ends up destroying almost all the land of his tribe and their houses, and our shallow upper class general public veiws him as a "Sicko" because they only veiw at how harmfull it was.....poor bastard.......the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer..

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Guest platapie

i still cant belive that pig fucker of a human lit that shit. guilty til proven innocent.

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get the full story motherfucker before you give in to your brainwashed self...

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