Judge orders teen who started large Oregon wildfire to pay more than $36 million in restitution

HOOD RIVER COUNTY, Ore. — A teenage boy who was held responsible for starting a large wildfire in Oregon in September must pay more than $36 million in restitution, a judge ruled Monday.

The boy was 15 at the time when he tossed fireworks while hiking last year that started the Eagle Creek Fire, KPTV reported.

Judge John A. Olson said the boy must pay $36,618,330.24 for his actions.

Last week, the teen’s attorney appeared in court and said the amount of restitution being sought was “absurd.”

In all, 11 claims were filed and all but two were accepted by Olson, who wrote in his opinion that he was “satisfied that the restitution ordered in this case bears a sufficient relationship to the gravity of the offenses for which the youth was adjudicated.”

The boy, who has not been identified, pleaded guilty to 12 counts in February. He was sentenced to five years probation and 1,920 hours of community service with the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire started on Sept. 2 and burned more than 48,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge.

Olson wrote the boy cannot pay the restitution in full and authorized the Hood River Juvenile Department to establish a payment schedule.