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Burn Boss’ reckless fire case has been dismissed in federal court

GRANT COUNTRY – New information has emerged in the case against a U.S. Forest Service fire chief who was arrested on a reckless driving charge following an escaped controlled burn conducted by the Forest Service. A press release issued by District Attorney Jim Carpenter in February states that: “On February 2, 2024, the case was presented to a grand jury for consideration. The grand jury returned an indictment against Ricky Snodgrass for Reckless Burning, ORS 164.335, a class A misdemeanor.”

After appeal, Snodgrass’ case was dismissed in federal court.

Sheriff Todd McKinley released a statement in response to the firing:

(Statement issued by Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley)

Regarding the recent dismissal in federal court of the arrest of the Burn Boss at the Starr 6 uncontrolled burn in Grant County Oregon on October 19, 2022, I have the following to say:

The United States federal government has chosen to use the Supremacy Clause as the basis for the dismissal request.

My interpretation of the use of this clause is such that state law was sufficient for the charges, and the only way to get around this was to appeal to federal court.

I am saddened that our own government, which was established ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’, would choose not to ‘do the right thing’ and heal the damaged party, for fear of to take responsibility. for their actions.

The hope from all of this is that in the future, more care will be taken, more guidelines will be followed, and the United States Forest Service will live up to their own motto: “Caring for the land and serving people ”.

Todd McKinley

Sheriff

*****

A press release from DA Carpenter states that: “On October 19, 2022, the Grant County Dispatch Center received 911 calls reporting an out-of-control USFS prescribed burn near mile marker 2 on the Izee Highway in Bear Valley, Grant County, Oregon.

Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley responded to the scene and located a USFS
The prescribed burn had gone out of control, crossing the Izee Highway and burning the private property of the Holliday Ranch.

Sheriff McKinley’s initial investigation led him to believe he had probable cause to arrest USFS Fire Chief, Rick Snodgrass, for Reckless Burning. “A person commits the crime of reckless burning (a class A misdemeanor) if the person recklessly damages the property of another by fire or explosion.” ORS-164.335. “Reckless” means that someone is aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the outcome will occur or that the circumstance exists and consciously ignores it. ORS161.085(9). The risk must be of such a nature and magnitude that ignoring it would constitute a gross departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the given situation.

Snodgrass was arrested and transported to the Grant County Jail, where he met release criteria and was released on parole.

Below is previous reporting by Elkhorn Media Group on this case:


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