A 16-year-old boy has been charged with third-degree arson for allegedly setting off a mortar-style firework that set 28 acres on fire in Idaho, police said.
Two fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responded around 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the Eagle Police Department.
After an investigation by Ada County Sheriff’s deputies, evidence showed that a group of teenagers riding in an SUV on BLM land started the fire using fireworks, police reported.
The others warned the unidentified 16-year-old who allegedly set off the fireworks in the group not to light it in the area for fear it would start a bushfire, police said.
The teen allegedly ignored their warnings and set off the explosive “shortly thereafter” while the SUV was parked and caused the fire.
The group attempted to put out the fire, but was unsuccessful.
Having no other choice, one of the other boys in the group called for help.
When officers arrived, the boy believed to be responsible for setting off the fireworks ran from the SUV and hid in an attempt to evade arrest.
“Officers found him a short time later near a canal in the area” before slapping the teenager and transporting him to the Ada County juvenile detention center, according to law enforcement.
Charges against the teen are still pending.
Several other agencies had to help put out the fire, with crews able to contain the raging fire after midnight Sunday, according to the Eagle Fire Department.
It is illegal to set off aerial fireworks in Idaho, although it is legal to purchase them in the state.
More than 2,500 of Idaho’s 9 million acres have caught fire statewide since the start of 2023, according to a government report.
Humans accounted for 117 of the 277 separate fire incidents.
Over the Independence Day weekend in neighboring Washington state, fireworks were the cause of six small wildfires, according to KATU.
All six fires were quickly brought under control, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources told the news outlet in July.
The small fires led Franz to recount that more than 48,000 acres of the state were engulfed in flames after a teenager set off fireworks on a trail off the Columbia River Gorge in 2017.
“It was literally just fireworks.” So that shows you how dangerous it is. This shows you how important this is. I think this fire cost us over $32 million to fight,” Franz told the outlet.