Oregon woman convicted of starting brush fire to give ‘bored’ firefighter friends work
(Reuters) – An Oregon woman who set a 2013 wildfire to create work for her firefighter friends, an act of arson she later heralded in a “like my fire?” post on Facebook, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday.
Sadie Johnson, 23, pleaded guilty in May to arson for the brush fire she set on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation southeast of Portland in July 2013.
Johnson, who lived in Warm Springs, was riding in a car that day on a highway and tossed a lit firework into nearby brush, igniting a fire that went on to burn over 51,000 acres before it was contained nine days later at a cost of $7.9 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Detectives tracked down Johnson after she posted “like my fire?” to Facebook, and she admitted lighting the blaze because her bored firefighter friends needed work, court documents said. But she also said she thought the fire would be smaller and take only two days to extinguish.
Johnson had faced a maximum of five years in prison, but a U.S. district judge instead sentenced her on Wednesday to 18 months behind bars, Gerri Badden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, said in an email.
Johnson, who has admitted to substance abuse problems, was also sentenced to six months of in-patient drug and alcohol treatment after she leaves prison and to 200 hours of community service on the Warm Springs Reservation.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)
[Image: “young woman holding a sparkler,” via Shutterstock]