- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A 19-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a fireworks violation that prosecutors say sparked a Boise-area wildfire, destroying one home and threatening dozens more.

Taylor Kemp pleaded guilty Wednesday to a violation of Ada County’s fireworks ordinance, The Idaho Statesman reported (https://bit.ly/2lcHlk6 ). He admitted he lit an illegal firework on June 30. That firework is believed to have sparked the fire that burned more than 2,500 acres.

The court will now consider evidence to determine if Kemp’s Roman candle actually caused the fire. If confirmed, Kemp will be considered legally responsible and prosecutors can seek restitution for firefighting costs and damages.

Kemp will not be sentenced until after a March 20 restitution hearing.

Kemp’s charge is a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The exact restitution amount has not yet been determined. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Boise Fire Department spend $341,000 fighting the fire. The owner of the destroyed home says he suffered $200,000 in damages.

The June blaze was a rallying point for a push to remove a loophole in state code that allows residents to purchase fireworks in Idaho as long as they sign a waiver promising not to set them off. Fire chiefs argued for the law to change, but state lawmakers rejected the measure earlier this month.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, https://www.idahostatesman.com


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