- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Federal prosecutors accused two men of starting a Washington forest fire after they burned a beehive and of stealing lumber from a national forest.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western Washington announced that Justin Wilke and Shawn Williams had been arrested and charged in connection with the blaze, and have been accused of using phony permits to sell illegally cut down, maple trees from public property to lumber mills.

Prosecutors say that in August 2018, the pair found a maple tree they wanted to cut down but discovered it had a bees nest inside of it.

They are accused of attempting to burn the bees out of their nest with a gasoline-induced flame and weren’t able to put out the blaze that would eventually burn 3,300 acres of forest and cost $4.5 million to put out, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Both were charged with conspiracy, trafficking in unlawfully harvested timber and depredation of government property. Mr. Wilke was additionally charged with theft of public property and setting timber on fire.

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