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Forest Employee Charged in Wildfires

June 16, 2002

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) _ A 38-year-old forestry technician was charged with starting the fire that scorched more than 100,000 acres in the Pike National Forest.

Terry Barton was charged with setting fire to timber in the national forest, damaging federal property in excess of $100,000 and making false statements to investigators, said Bill Leoni of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

She admitted to starting a campfire within a designated campfire ring while patrolling the forest to enforce a fire ban, Leoni said.

``She attempted to suppress the fire but it grew,″ Leoni said.

Barton faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Firefighters gained ground Sunday on the wildfire that had burned within 40 miles of Denver city limits since it was started June 8, threatening southwestern suburbs.

With the blaze about 35 percent contained, some 5,400 people remained out of their homes.

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