How much punishment should a person face for causing a brush fire?

How much punishment should a person face for causing a brush fire? »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Throw in a mix of dry heat and a little bit of a spark and the result could be disastrous. The penalty for starting a fire, though? It depends on factors like age, recklessness, and negligence.

"You're still going to be responsible for it if you start it,” said Yakima County Fire District 5 Deputy Chief Kevin Frazier. “I mean, you own it. You put fire on the ground, you own it. That's the way we look at it."

Firefighters told KIMA it all comes down to negligence. If you were acting in an irresponsible or reckless way like setting off fireworks in the middle of a dry field then you're liable for the fire. It means you could face and have to pay for any property damage that the fire caused. If the person is underage, then the parents could face the blame and the fine.

"Accidents happen and it's unfortunate but I don't think people should be held accountable for something they didn't mean to do," said Karly Floyd.

Karly Floyd said people should follow burn ban laws, but accidents do happen.

Yakima County Fire District 5 said most brush fires are human caused and they usually start by people burning things like wood, paper products, and garbage.

"Either they think the fire's out, the hot ashes are there, a lot of duff can stay hot seven to ten days," said Frazier.

Some ways to prevent starting brush fires include disposing trash in a dump. Or not burning in areas with dry grass and high temperatures. Firefighters said three big brush fires that happened in Selah, Union Gap, and Moxee in the last month have all been started by people.