A seasonal employee has pleaded guilty to starting a fire at the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, the park announced today.
Curtis J Faustich, a seasonal concessionaire employee in the park, admitted to dropping a lit cigarette on the ground while sitting at a picnic table and igniting the fire, a park news release said. He has been sentenced to three months in jail.
Faustich appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming. While in court, Faustich pleaded guilty to the charge.
In addition to jail time, his sentence includes $5,000 in restitution and two years of unsupervised probation. He will be prohibited from entering Yellowstone for two years, the news release said.
Park law enforcement officers thanked individuals who called the park’s 24-hour Tip Line (307-344-2132) to provide timely details during an investigation into the cause of the fire.
The fire started at about 6:00 p.m. July 26 and spread across 4 acres of grass and sage between the North Entrance Station and Gardner River.
Crews from Yellowstone, the town of Gardiner and Paradise Valley contained blaze, including a half-acre spot fire on the other side of the river. The quick response prevented threats to visitors and buildings, the park said.