HOOD RIVER, Ore – A 15-year-old boy from Vancouver, Washington, has been ordered to pay $36,618,330.24 in restitution fees for the Columbia River Gorge fire in Northern Oregon. The fees will cover firefighting costs, repair and restoration to the gorge, and damaged homes. The Hood River County Circuit Judge John A. Olsen, awarded the settlement to the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation Monday, May 21st.
The boy acknowledged wrongdoing and admitted to throwing two fireworks in Eagle Creek Canyon on September 2nd, 2017. The fire caused evacuations, shutdown of a major highway, and serious damage to a major outdoor tourist attraction.
The restitution is the responsibility of the teen, and not his parents. The judge gave the teen a payment plan that can be halted after 10 years as long as he complies, successfully finishes his probation, and does not commit any other crimes. The boy was also sentenced to community service and had to write more than 100 letters apologizing to those affected.
The boys lawyer called the nearly $37 million an absurd amount for the child. The boys name will not be released for the safety of the juvenile.