Lake Christine Fire suspect Miller rescued after going out of bounds at Aspen Highlands
Richard Miller, the man accused of starting the Lake Christine Fire in July 2018, had to be rescued Sunday from the Highland Bowl area after going out of bounds.
According to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Miller, 23, got separated from two companions at about 12:30 p.m. at Aspen Highlands and his friends reported him missing to ski patrol at 3:30 p.m.
Patrollers zeroed in on the section near the G Zone, but could not locate Miller. At that point, Mountain Rescue Aspen was called to help with the search, and 19 MRA volunteers went to scene.
Miller called 911 while the search party was looking for him, and Miller and the search group were able to find each other. Searchers reached Miller, who was 300 feet below the ski-area boundary, at 6:45 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The search teams boot-packed and stomped down a path and Miller made it back up to the boundary and skied out with the rescuers by 8:30 p.m.
“The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind skiers and snowboarders to stay on established routes and avoid traveling into unfamiliar terrain,” the statement said. “If the decision is made to travel outside of ski area boundaries, recreationalists should seek additional training, carry proper equipment, and be prepared to spend the night unsupported in the backcountry in winter conditions.”
According to an Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman, Miller didn’t get his pass pulled. A person is legally allowed to go out of bounds as long as they don’t depart and re-enter via a closed area.
Miller and Allison Marcus each face three charges of fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and setting fire to woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony. Miller and Marcus are free on a $7,500 bond each. Miller is due in Eagle County court May 28.
The two were allegedly at the shooting range near Basalt, firing tracer rounds shortly before 6 p.m. on July 3. Miller initially denied using tracer rounds, then admitted to it after deputies searched the two’s belongings, according to an arrest affidavit.
The fire burned more than 12,500 acres on state, federal and private lands and it destroyed three houses.