Teen-agers busted for illegal Tiger Road bonfire
BRECKENRIDGE – Blame it on the adolescent myth of immortality, public education or their parents: Ten teens were discovered Wednesday night around an illegal bonfire near the south fork of the Swan River.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff Kiewitt discovered the teens at midnight, while patrolling for fire violations in an unmarked vehicle. The teens were seated around a 6-foot diameter, 5-foot high fire. Deputies reported there was no fire pit or fire ring in place and that ash and embers were airborne in the surrounding grass and trees. Teens reportedly were gathering in the woods for a party.
A press release from the Sheriff’s Office called the incident an “obvious, blatant act of defiance.” Sheriff Joe Morales issued a fire ban more than a month ago, on April 24. Gov. Bill Owens issued a statewide fire ban Monday.
“This is just conscientious disregard for the safety of others,” Sheriff Joe Morales said Thursday from a state sheriff’s conference in Delta. “I just drove through Glenwood Springs and saw people sifting through the ruins of their home. This is enough to make me sick.”
Red, White and Blue firefighters went to the scene of the bonfire in the wilderness above Tiger Road and used 200 gallons of water to extinguish it – after sheriff’s deputies made the teens use an untapped keg of beer to douse the blaze. It was firefighters’ second visit to the site that day: Firefighters also put out an unattended campfire they believe was started Tuesday night. Investigators do not know if the two fires are related, however.
One of the teens involved in Wednesday’s bonfire confessed to starting the blaze and was cited for reckless endangerment. The officers forwarded the information to the district attorney’s office for prosecution because of the severity of the act.
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