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Loma Woman Sentenced for Starting the 2011 Ruby Canyon Fire

November 2, 2012

DENVER – Ami Lyn Thompson, age 41, of Loma, Colorado, pled guilty and was sentenced for causing the Ruby Canyon Fire located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservations Area Fire in March of 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management announced. Thompson was sentenced on October 29, 2012, by U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. West, to serve 5 days in jail, with credit for time served, followed by one year of supervised release, and $14,961.98 in restitution payable to the Bureau of Land Management. The final restitution payment is to be made by September 1, 2013, and represents the two fires she admitted to setting.

Thompson was charged by Information with burning timber, trees, slash, brush, tundra and grass on BLM lands. She was also charged with willfully failing to appear for court hearings.

According to the plea agreement, which was executed on June 14, 2012, on March 20, 2011, Thompson entered an area which runs alongside the Colorado River in the McInnis Canyons National Conservations Area. While there, Thompson lit a series of fires with the intent to burn weeds in an area privately owned. However, the fire went out of control, and an area of public lands maintained and regulated by the Bureau of Land Management burned. Firefighters were required to extinguish the fire. Criminal charges were then filed as it pertained to her involvement in starting the fire. Thompson was required to appear in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction. Despite that requirement, Thompson knowingly and willfully failed to appear at the required time.

“Thanks to the excellent investigative work of the Bureau of Land Management, a person who started a fire that ultimately burned public land and caused substantial damage has been held accountable and will be required to pay restitution to compensate victims of her crime,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The results of this case reflect the outstanding work of the United States Attorney’s Office in support of the BLM, demonstrating our commitment to public lands and local communities, especially during this year’s challenging fire season,” said John Mehlhoff, BLM Colorado Associate State Director. “Hopefully, this decision will help prevent future fires on public lands.”

This case was investigate by the BLM. Thompson was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.


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