Taylorsville man charged in Brian Head Fire

The town of Brian Head, Utah, was evacuated Saturday, June 17, 2017, as a wildfire quickly spread, immediately threatening the town. Fire crews from local, state and federal agencies were out in force, along with air tankers and helicopters. Photo courtesy: Cigi Burton, Dixie National Forest

CEDAR CITY, Utah, July 25, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A Taylorsville man has been charged with reckless burning after officials say he started the Brian Head Fire, which destroyed 13 residences and cost about $34 million to fight.

Robert Ray Lyman was charged Tuesday in 5th District Court with:

• One count of reckless burning, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, and

• One count of failure to notify authorities or obtain a permit before burning, a Class B misdemeanor, punishable with as much as six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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Officials say Lyman sparked the fire on June 17 while burning weeds at a cabin he owns in Iron County. The blaze grew to 71,000 acres — nearly 111 square miles — before it was brought under control. The wildfire destroyed buildings in Brian Head and near Panguitch Lake.

Fire officials have said in the past that a person found guilty of starting a fire can be held accountable for the costs of fighting it. Any decision about trying to recoup costs would come after a full investigation.

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