The man responsible for a fire that burned 75 acres on the Bountiful bench in August 2017 has agreed to pay nearly $400,000 for the costs of battling the blaze and remediation afterward.
Jayson Ross Orvis of Bountiful will pay $395,914, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
"This settlement fully compensates the public for the expense of fighting the fire and restoring these public lands,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber in a statement.
“We feel a huge debt of gratitude for the fire fighters who stopped the fire and saved our neighborhood homes,” Orvis said in a statement Monday. “Covering the full cost of the fire was the least we could do.”
The fire was ignited on Aug. 29, 2017, by sparks from a power grinder used by James Golden, who had been hired by Orvis to work on his property on Bench Hillside Hollow Circle. Flames spread to the adjacent Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. No homes were damaged, but the fire burned within a quarter-mile of the 50-home Summerwood development.
The two men had faced federal misdemeanor charges for causing and failing to control a fire that damages a national forest; criminal charges have been dismissed.
The settlement includes a $14,123 payment for environmental remediation costs resulting from the fire, along with “multiple encroachments on U.S. Forest Service property,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The investigation revealed that Orvis had illegally placed a shooting pavilion and an outfitter tent on national forest land; he was fined $560 for two violations.
Golden was also fined $280 for “carelessly and negligently placing an ignited substance that may cause a fire."
According to the Huber’s office, the settlement “is neither an admission of liability by Orvis nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.”