Three men are facing felony charges for allegedly shooting at homemade exploding targets in July that sparked the Ana Fire, which burned more than 58,000 acres in the Summer Lake area.
Elijah Dyer, Gary Bigelow and David Evans were each indicted on charges of felony manufacturing of a destructive device, felony criminal conspiracy and six counts of misdemeanor reckless burning, according to Lake County District Attorney Sharon Forster.
The men were visiting from the Eugene-Springfield area and having a family gathering July 8 on private property just north of the Summer Lake Lodge, Forster said.
“All three of them were involved,” she said. “They added pyrotechnics to the exploding targets.”
Exploding targets such as Tannerite are legal in Oregon, but attaching fireworks and shooting at them recklessly in dry summer conditions is not, Forster said.
The Ana Fire burned sagebrush, grass and timber west of the Ana Reservoir near Summer Lake, destroying a hunting cabin and outbuilding.
It burned on state and federal lands, including parts of a federally protected sage grouse habitat. Flames 20 feet high came within 70 yards of homes in Summer Lake.
The six reckless burning charges are for the destroyed structures and burned federal land.
Forster said she is determining a restitution amount for the damage.
Oregon State Police’s arson unit led the investigation, which was reviewed by Forster.
“These are hard cases to do,” Forster said. “The state police has done a phenomenal job.”
No court dates have been set for the men to make their initial appearances in Lake County Circuit Court.
Dyer and Evans were arrested and booked this week in Lane County on $250,000 bail, Forster said. Police are searching for Bigelow, who will be booked on $250,000 bail, according to Forster.
— Reporter: 541-617-7820, email@example.com