Teen gets probation, community service in NC mountain fire that burned 7,000+ acres

Photo from Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire Department

RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (WSPA) – The teen responsible for the Party Rock Fire was sentenced today in Rutherford County.

Aaron Rolls was given a 30 day sentenced, suspended to 18 months of supervised probation along with 100 hours of community service.

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CLICK TO VIEW 45+ PHOTOS AND MAPS OF THE WILDFIRES IN THE MOUNTAINS THAT FALL

He also has to get a full time job or go to school full time.

He was also ordered to pay court-appointed attorney fees of $660.

The fire started in November and burned for more than a month. That fall, a number of fires burned thousands of acres in Western North Carolina.

The fire burned more than 7,000 acres in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Bat Cave.

“Under North Carolina law, someone who starts a wildfire can only be charged with a felony of it is intentionally set or if it ends up burning a building or results in a serious injury,” District Attorney Bell said.

However, if it only burns brushlands or woodlands, or was negligently started, then it can only be charged as a misdemeanor, no matter how much damage it does.

“Because of the excellent work by all of the people involved in fighting this fire there was no damage to any buildings, and no one was injured, and the evidence is it was negligently set,” Bell said.

Under the law, the defendant could only be charged with a misdemeanor despite the massive size of the fire.

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