The three men accused of shooting at homemade exploding targets that sparked the 5,800-acre Ana Fire near Summer Lake in July were arraigned Monday in Lake County Circuit Court.
Elijah Matthew Dyer, 27, David Robert Evans, 34, both of Springfield, and Gary Arthur Bigelow, 68, of Walterville, were each indicted in February on charges of felony manufacturing of a destructive device, felony criminal conspiracy and six counts of misdemeanor reckless burning.
The men were visiting the area July 8 for a family gathering on private property just north of the Summer Lake Lodge when they allegedly added pyrotechnics to targets and shot at the targets, leading to the wildfire, according to Lake County District Attorney Sharon Forster.
The indictments accuse the men of conspiring to assemble “a pyrotechnic device containing two or more grains of pyrotechnic charge.”
Exploding targets such as Tannerite are legal in Oregon, but attaching fireworks and shooting at them recklessly in dry summer conditions is not, Forster previously told The Bulletin.
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 against the men are because of the destroyed structures and burned federal land. The indictments list affected private property and property belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Forestry.
A restitution amount is still being determined for the damage.
Oregon State Police’s arson unit led the investigation, which was reviewed by Forster.
All three men are out of custody after they each posted $2,500 of their $250,000 bail.
They are each due back in court for a pretrial hearing in April. They may appear by phone, according to a court order.
— Reporter: 541-617-7820, email@example.com