Small fires leadto arson charge |

Small fires leadto arson charge

An Idaho man learned Thursday just how deceivingly green the forests are in the Colorado mountains right now.Dean Nabor, 39, of Bellview, Idaho, was ticketed for fourth-degree arson after he allegedly started two small fires in the grass near Meredith, 23 miles east of Basalt, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.A Meredith firefighter happened to be in the tiny town cleaning fish for his lunch at about 2 p.m. Thursday when he thought he heard the crackling of grass on fire nearby, according to deputy Ann Stephenson. The firefighter spotted a man later identified as Nabor in the area, acting as though he was reacting to a fire.The fire burned a patch of ground about 25-by-25 feet as well as a second smaller patch, according to Basalt fire chief Scott Thompson. The Meredith firefighter had assistance from other people in the area in putting the flames out, and Basalt firefighters also responded.Thompson said there was no threat to structures. Stephenson said the fire was confined to grass along the county road right of way.Stephenson said Nabor’s comments to her were limited, so determining what happened was difficult.”If I had to speculate, I’d say it was a smoking issue,” she said. “I don’t really think he had any horrible, ill intent.”Her report indicated Nabor was surprised that the grass went up in flames since it looked so green. Nabor had been a resident of the upper Fryingpan Valley but he is currently visiting, according to the deputy.The incident shows that while areas of the White River National Forest and backcountry around the valley appear lush, they are really “tinderbox dry,” Stephenson said. Pitkin County has a fire ban in place.Stephenson said she felt the Meredith incident warranted a misdemeanor arson charge, which reflects that the fire was started accidentally.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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