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Wildfire set by teen in WA without spark arrester!!

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Just something else to tarnish our image. Thought this would be an interesting read. Teen to Get Bill for $10M for Wildfire. If anybody knows this kid in WA, smack him! :cry:

Mon Oct 11, 7:41 PM ET White House - AP Cabinet & State

WENATCHEE, Wash. - The U.S. Forest Service said it plans to bill a teenager about $10 million to pay the costs of fighting a 16,000-acre wildfire.

Ryan Unger, 18, was cited last month for operating an off-road vehicle without a spark arrester, which officials believe started the August blaze in central Washington. Besides burning thousands of acres, the fire destroyed one home.

The Forest Service is required by law to try to recover costs of fighting forest fires. The state Department of Natural Resources has paid about one-third of the total $14.9 million it took to extinguish the blaze.

"It's not something we take pleasure in," said Maureen Hanson, administrative officer for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. "We understand a lot of these people don't go out to start a fire."

Unger's father said the family would not comment when reached by phone Monday.

Steve DeFolo, financial manager for the national forests, said the Forest Service usually works with an individual's insurance company to negotiate a settlement.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041011/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/brf_forest_fire_bill_1

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Man, that kid's gonna have to flip a lot of McDonalds burgers to pay that bill!

Luckily, my hunk of land was saved by the fire break they built just past the property line. Unfortunately, all the access roads from my land to those Nt. Forest roads have been destroyed. During the fire, they dozed the roads to create an escape route for the firefighters, then afterward they went back in with the dozers and tore them all up. Not much I can do about that. Timing might not be good to go to the Forest Service and insist that they repair those roads so I can ride my dirtbike up there!

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I've been reading about this, but so far haven't seen any details as to how they determined the cause of the fire came from this specific motorcycle.

For $10M they'd better be certain, or there's a lot of money in that for the attorneys.

Anyone have the details?

Tom

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They are also talking about this in the OT section, so I copied what I wrote over there.....

This happened in my back yard.

This will be important for several reasons, one of which being: How will this area and community react to off-road motorcycle use?

The facts, as I know them, are that some guys were out riding during a very hot and dry season around here. They were hill-climbing, and one of them laid the bike over. The header was super-hot, and something started to smolder. They tried to put it out, it got out of hand, so they got out of dodge.

Word on the streets is that these guys rode there often, and people saw them there that day.

The fire started, and the community reacted to its' best ability.

When the forest service started to investigate, one of the first things they did was go to local motorcycle shops to see who was buying spark arrestors.

When Unger's name appeared on that list, they went to talk to him. While there, they asked to inspect his bike. They found a very dirty airfilter and a bike that was back-firing.

Long story short, they pinned the fire on Unger. They say that it was caused by not having a spark arrestor pipe, but then they turn around and think the fire started by laying the bike down (where a fire would start regardless if the pipe was arrested or not).

So, this area is VERY conservative, but now I get the evil-eye while riding out here. What will the reaction be to this disaster?

He was riding a YZ540f with no spark arrestor, which tells me he was not legally equipped to be out there. Will they punish/restrict us law-abiders?

This is a very sad, unfortunate event, but I hope that there is no backlash upon the legally equipped riders of the area.

Unger is in a very bad spot for such a young age.

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Holy sheit! this will be interesting, if the lack of a sparky didn't cause the fire, BUT the punk should not have been there in the first place and if he did cause it by accident??? Keep us updated

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when i first heard about this i thought "this is a true first: a non-sparkied bike causes a fire." turns out my apprehension was well placed. i can believe a header pipe on a YZF started the fire. those things seem to run hot even for a 4 stroke.

jeremiah

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I doubt they know exactly how his bike started the fire. He fell over. Which would have led to flooding the bike. A non spark arrested bike when flooded certainly could easily backfire and start a fire. But it was also reported that his bike ran poorly and backfired anyway.

The Wenatchee World, a greenie oriented paper would definately jump on the idea that the hot header caused the fire. That way they can point at all dirt bikes as a danger even if they are legal. Look for that to be the way it's pushed on the public. Whether it is the fact or not will matter little. This is not about a dirt biker starting a fire, I believe it is about "The Green Agenda" to remove all dirt bikes from the forest.

And the boy involved would much rather believe the fire was caused by his header than his negligence in not having a spark arrester. I read where he said in justification of his acts that he had rode his bike many times in the forest without a spark arrestor and never started a fire. He would love to be able to say it wouldn't of mattered if he had a spark arrestor, the fire still would have happened cause of the hot header. I doubt he gives a hoot about dirt bikers at this point in his life. Ten million dollars is a lot of money. It's enough money to cause one to betray all dirt bike riders and manufacturers rather than stand up and take the blame for what he has done. You see it's not really his fault that the fire started. It's the dirt bikes. Do you see what the Greenies will do with this? They are licking their chops right now going in for the kill. Not the kill of this boy but the kill of all dirtbikes cause they are dangerous and should not be in the forest.

Are you ready to buy into this? I'm not!!

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What a joke. Unless they had hard proof that HE did it, they will never get anything from him. Hmm a dirty air filter and a bad running bike is proof that he strarted a fire...... Maybe I should clean my airfilter more frequently or I might get blamed for the next one. :cry: :cry:

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I may be wrong about this and if so someone will correct me but I think he pretty much confessed it in the end. He confessed that he rode without a spark arrestor and that he fell over and so on. He even got caught lying about when he installed the spark arrestor that was on his bike when they finally tracked him down.

What a joke. Unless they had hard proof that HE did it, they will never get anything from him. Hmm a dirty air filter and a bad running bike is proof that he strarted a fire...... Maybe I should clean my airfilter more frequently or I might get blamed for the next one. :cry: :cry:

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I see what you are saying, OMT.

That they were saying the fire started at the header made my butt pucker for a couple of reasons.

#1. My totally compliant off-road bike is capable of starting a fire.

#2. Me being held financially responsible for a fire would suck bad.

#3. If they really want to push this issue, the issue becomes less about "spark arrestors" and more about bikes themselves.

We really don't see many restrictions out here. Yes, we do have them, but by and large, we get to ride all over the place.

Hopefully, this incident will not change that.

:cry:

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Im thinking i would have a cell phone on me and call that in real fast if i couldnt put the fire out. At least you would have notified the authorities at the time of the incident to help cover your butt. But the fact that he got outa dodge without telling anyone and then lying about it later is what is gonna bite him in the ass. And of course ruin it for all of us law abiding citizens.

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Brandon, I am not familiar with the area where the fire actually started. Is it true that they were riding dirt bikes in an unapproved area? That they would have been kicked out of that area if the authorities caught them in there? Not just fined for a bike illegally equipped but also on property they were not allowed to ride in the first place?

I may be all wet here but for some reason this is what I got out of the early reports about this.

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Is it true that they were riding dirt bikes in an unapproved area?

Depends upon what your definition of "approved" is.

No, it was not a "sanctioned" area, but it was not "off-limits" either.

This started very close to the mouth of Derby Canyon, which feeds down into the town of Peshastin. Unger lives on North Dryden Road, which is also very close to where the fire started. He has been riding for years (We actually own his old TT-R!) and could ride right from his garage.

The neighbors were used to seeing him ride in the area, and that is one of the reasons why they kinda knew where to start looking.

A lot of this area is public, be it Forest Service land or BLM. Not a lot of fences, and I am under the impression that as long as you are not "maliciously destructing" the land, you can go where you want.

I am going to look further into that though. Most all of my riding is on established trails, so it will not affect me either way, but I do want to know what the specific rules of engagement are.

:cry:

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Just a little "rumor" update.

I know of a few people who live in the fire area. Word on the street is many are grumbling about a class action lawsuit on DNR & FS. Many of the locals and local FD belive they had the fire well under control in fact if not nearly contained. They were then told to step down and let the big boys take control of the situation. The DNR/FS turned down the local FD to assist with the knowledge of the local canyons...(locals remember the safty valve letter from the wife of the fire chief?) what I was told during their eval of the fire (ie lets talk about this) it then went out of control. One homeowner had to shame a crew into pulling lines off the pumper to help save a house, which they then didn't know how to operate. Also the house that burned down had a hydrant less than 100yds away from it. but it was not usable due to the fact that the DNR/FS drained the water supply prior to needing it.

Again this is all just talk on the street and may be disgruntled home owners venting rumors as I am just passing them along.

This however is true the kid is destroyed by this his family is destroyed by this, and not a thing is being done to the other 2 boys. The homeowner I talked to has not one bit of anger to the kids, he is much more upset with how the fire was handled by the agencies involved.

I from my own experience working for the FS am sad but not surprised to hear how these people feel.

Travis

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Oh, fires are big business to the FS. Their one chance in the year to go outside and pretend they're still in the army. I've worked on many Federal fires over the summers watering camp and watching people play volleyball. ODF shows up and with the local's help puts out the fire. The Federal FS tries to see how much money they can throw at it.

I hope something good can come out of it for the homeowners.

- Ryan

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