Four arrested on suspicion of sparking Halfway Hill Fire, now at nearly 8K acres burned

Halfway Hill Fire. Photo: Utah Fire Info

MILLARD COUNTY, Utah, July 10, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Four people have been arrested after allegedly abandoning the campfire believed to have sparked the Halfway Hill Fire, which has now burned and estimated 7,958 acres of land in Millard County.

Suspects Darri Rae Dewolfe, 35; and Michael Joseph Patti, Talon Lance Kessler and Tyler Russell Smith, all 30, each face a single charge: Abandoned fire with property damage greater than $1,000, a class A misdemeanor.

“On July 8, 2022 Millard County Dispatch received report of a wildland fire at the location of Halfway Hill,” says a probable cause statement identical in content for all four suspects.

“Multiple agency personnel responded, and began suppression efforts. Shortly after the fire was reported witnesses indicated a possible point of origin. Fire investigators with the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands responded to that location.

“Qualified fire investigator Justin Short conducted a review of the micro and macro fire indicators, and confirmed the point of origin emanating from a camp site. Items of evidence were recovered indicating individuals had been at this location, and had left abruptly. Subsequent investigation identified four individuals who had been at this location.”

Halfway Hill Fire. Photo: Utah Fire Info

All four, contacted by investigators, “admitted they had been recreating at this location for several hours. They stated that after being at this location they had made attempts to extinguish the fire, and then left the scene. Arrestees did however indicate during interviews that after seeing the fire erupt they were concerned that their fire may have been the cause. However none of the individuals made contact with fire or law enforcement personnel prior to being interviewed.”

All four suspects were arrested, with bail set at $1,000.

Halfway Hill Fire, Millard County, Utah. July 8, 2022. Photo: Utah Fire Info

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