News and Press Releases

Man Indicted for Setting Fires on U.s. Forest Service Lands Last Summer

January 19, 2006

Reno, Nev. - A man who was employed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a firefighter, has been charged by a Federal Grand Jury with three counts of setting fires on U.S. Forest Service lands in Lander County, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

MARK E. MORGAN, age 34, of Reno, Nevada, was indicted on Wednesday, January 18, 2 006, on three felony counts of Timber Set Afire, and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

According to the Indictment, on or about August 19, August 28, and August 29, 2005, MORGAN wilfully and without authority set fire to underbrush and grass upon land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The fires occurred approximately 170 miles east of Reno near Austin, Nevada, within the Humboldt-Toyaibe National Forest, Austin Ranger District. At the time MORGAN allegedly set the fires, he was employed by BLM as a firefighter.

MARK E. MORGAN is scheduled for an initial court appearance on January 23, 2006, at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. McQuaid, Jr.

The case is being investigated by Special Agents with the U.S. Forest Service, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Pugliese.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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