Teen Arraigned on Suspicion of Starting Oregon Wildfire

The Eagle Creek Fire on the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon, has burned 50,000 acres since it started Labor Day weekend. (Photo courtesy Oregon State Police)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (CN) – A 15-year-old boy accused of tossing firecrackers from a cliff on a popular hiking trail, starting a wildfire that devastated one of the nation’s scenic jewels, was arraigned Thursday in Oregon.

The Eagle Creek Fire started on Labor Day weekend. It stranded 153 hikers overnight and threatened Portland’s easternmost suburb, as well as Bonneville Dam and the Eagle Creek Reservoir – the sources of power and drinking water for the Portland metro area. The fire has burned nearly 50,000 acres and is half contained, according to the most current numbers released by the U.S. Forest Service.

Oregon State Police on Thursday announced that they filed a five-count juvenile court petition, charging the boy with reckless burning, depositing burning materials on forest lands, unlawful possession of fireworks, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering other persons.

The boy, whose identity has not been released, appeared and was arraigned in Hood River County Circuit Court.

Oregon State Police, the Hood River County District Attorney’s Office and the Hood River County Juvenile Department said they wouldn’t comment on the case until it was resolved.

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