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August 24, 2011
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DA: Fire caused by juveniles' negligence, not deliberately set

MINDEN, Nev. - Two 15-year-old boys have been charged with a delinquency offense in last week's Ray May fire that burned nearly 4,000 acres which alleges the fire was caused by negligence, and wasn't deliberately set.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Dustman said Wednesday the petition was filed after review of investigative reports from the East Fork Fire Protection District and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

The suspects are being held in juvenile detention and are set for a hearing Aug. 30 before District Judge Dave Gamble.

The juveniles were charged with destruction of timber, crops or vegetation by fire caused by gross negligence.

Dustman said the District Attorney's Office did not charge the juveniles with third degree arson because information provided by the investigators indicated that while the wildland fire was caused by gross negligence, the juveniles did not willfully and maliciously set a wildland fire.

"Prosecutors have had several meetings and briefings with Capt. Terry Taylor, the on-scene fire investigator, as well as representatives of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Douglas County Juvenile Probation Department," Dustman said.

She said the charging decision was made as a result of the reports, meetings, recommendations of the involved agencies, and the applicable laws of this state.

Because the amount of loss resulting from the Ray May fire is in excess of $5,000, this offense would constitute a category C felony if committed by an adult, Dustman said.

Preliminary estimates set the cost of fighting the 3,895-acre fire at $2.195 million.

The fire was started Aug. 16 near Pine View Estates after the juveniles allegedly failed to extinguish a camp fire.

The Ray May fire destroyed 10 structures, including a guest house, eight outbuildings and an abandoned house on Bureau of Land Management property.

Up to 600 firefighters helped fight the fire.

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 24, 2011 02:50PM Published Aug 24, 2011 02:49PM Copyright 2011 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.