Volunteer firefighter charged with starting destructive Idaho wildfire

Volunteer firefighter charged with starting destructive Idaho wildfire

Credit: Deren Martinez/KTVB

Volunteer firefighter charged with starting destructive Idaho wildfire

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by KTVB.COM

KREM.com

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:08 PM

BOISE COUNTY, Idaho -- An 18-year-old volunteer firefighter with the Clear Creek Fire Department is accused of intentionally starting a wildfire fire that has charred 250 acres and destroyed one home near the Robie Creek area.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Nathaniel Bartholomew Monday night as he was actively fighting the Karney Fire.

Witnesses told deputies they saw Bartholomew in the area where the fire started.

The sheriff's office believes Bartholomew used pine cones and grass to set the fire in an area near his home off Robie Creek Road.

During questioning, Boise County Chief Deputy Dale Rogers said Bartholomew confessed to the crime.

Rogers said it appears the motive for starting the fire was to get the attention of his father who is a firefighter.

Bartholomew is now in the Ada County Jail. He was arraigned on the felony charge Tuesday. A judge appointed him a public defender and set Oct. 1 for a preliminary hearing.

The Boise County Sheriff's Office reports the Karney Fire started around 4:30 p.m. Monday, and grew overnight.

On Tuesday, the fire continued to grow after jumping a fire line and burning close to two homes in the Robie Creek area, but firefighters managed to keep those homes safe. It is burning toward a ridge that is mostly covered with pine trees and brush. Crews are focused on containing the fire at the mountain ridge before it approaches Wilderness Ranch.

The flames are threatening around 100 homes near the Robie Creek and Wilderness Ranch communities northeast of Boise. Officials say 80 homes in the area have been evacuated.

More than 100 firefighters are fighting the fire, along with two heavy air tankers, nine single-engine air tankers, three helicopters, several engines, two dozers and three 20-person hand crews.

Officials tell us the Karney Fire is only 15 percent contained at this point.

The Red Cross has set up an aid station at the Idaho City High School. Children who normally get dropped off at Wilderness Ranch will be kept at the aid station for parent pickup.

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