$300,000 settlement in wildfire near Telluride | AspenTimes.com

$300,000 settlement in wildfire near Telluride

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Two men blamed for sparking a wildfire with a lighter have reached a $300,000 settlement with federal prosecutors.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Denver announced the deal with John D. Wesson and Matthew Dwight Allen on Tuesday. The money will cover the cost of fighting the 120-acre fire near Telluride in 2003.

There was a fire ban in San Miguel County at the time. Authorities say Allen handed a lighter to Wesson, who then used it to light some kind of tobacco. The area was so dry that the U.S. Forest Service says the flame ignited aspen cotton fluff that was floating in the air, which then ignited nearby trees.

Wesson’s State Farm Insurance homeowner’s policy will pay the $300,000. Wesson declined to comment.

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