Suspect pleads guilty to starting Yellowstone fire

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

CASPER, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park says that a suspect who was alleged to have started a fire at the north entrance of the park has plead guilty.

“Curtis J Faustich, a seasonal concessionaire employee in Yellowstone, admitted to dropping a lit cigarette on the ground while sitting at a picnic table and igniting the fire,” the Wednesday, Aug. 7 release states.

The fire started at about 6 pm Friday, July 26.

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“A human-caused fire spread through the grass and sage between the North Entrance Station and the Gardner River,” park officials said. “It was contained at approximately 4 acres.”

Faustich has been sentenced to serve three months in jail, according to the release. He’ll also have to pay $5,000 in restitution and will have two years of unsupervised probation.

He won’t be able to enter Yellowstone for two years.

“Faustich appeared Tuesday, August 6, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming,” park officials said. “While in court, Faustich pleaded guilty to the charge.”

“Park law enforcement officers sincerely thank the individuals who called the park’s 24-hour Tip Line at 307-344-2132 and provided timely incident details.”