A Hefty Fine For Playing With Fireworks

May 25, 2018
By U.S. Forest Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The September 2017 forest fire in Oregon was massive. Land, homes, and other property were damaged or completely destroyed, as were popular trails and vista points. How did it all start? The fire began when a teen playing with fireworks threw them into a canyon, starting a blaze that lasted for days.

The judge hearing the case ruled that the teen was to be fined … wait for it … $37 million to cover the costs of repairs and firefighter expenses! Can a teen really afford to pay $37 million? Likely not, the judge acknowledged, but the intent was for this to be a lesson for other careless youth who might unwittingly start a devastating fire.

For now, the state of Oregon will seize all of the teen’s money. If the teen gets a tax refund or happens to win the lottery, that money could go toward the fine as well. The judge ruled that the teen—not his parents—should help pay the fine as well as work 1,920 hours of community service. We hope some lessons were learned!