Local News

Dec 10, 2009 11:51 AM by Emily Kiefer

SB County DA's office charges two people with misdemeanors for Jesusita Fire

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office says it has charged two people in connection with the Jesusita Fire that sparked back in May.

During an investigation, the District Attorney's office said evidence showed that 50-year-old Craig William Ilenstine and 45-year-old Dana Neil Larsen were using gas powered weed cutters to trim back brush on the trail near where the fire started. Neither of the two had obtained a hot work permit, which is required by law. They also did not watch the area after they finished, to make sure they did not leave any smoldering areas.

Ilenstine and Larsen have each been charged with one misdemeanor count of violating the California Fire Code. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court in January.

If they are convicted, the maximum penalty they could face is a fine of $25,000 and up to 90 days in County Jail. The District Attorney will also ask the court to impose full criminal restitution on behalf of the victims of the fire. The California Department of Forestry will pursue civil cost recovery against Ilenstine and Larsen as well.

The Jesusita Fire burned more than 8,700 acres and destroyed 80 homes northwest of Mission Canyon and the City of Santa Barbara.

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