The suspect in the human-caused fire at the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park was sentenced Tuesday to three months of jail and $5,000 in restitution.
Curtis J. Faustich, a seasonal concessionaire employee in Yellowstone, admitted to starting the North Entrance Fire July 26 when he dropped a lit cigarette on the ground by the picnic table where he was sitting.
Faustich was charged for discarding a lighted material in a hazardous manner and pleaded guilty Tuesday to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming.
Yellowstone Spokesperson Linda Veress says in addition to his sentence, Faustich is also prohibited from entering the park for two years.
“Park law enforcement officers do thank individuals who called the 24-hour tip line and provided timely incident details. That helps end the investigation, as well,” says Veress.
The North Entrance Fire burned four acres of grass and sage brush before crews managed to contain it the evening the fire started. The North Entrance Road was closed for 90 minutes.
Fire danger in Yellowstone is currently ‘moderate’ and park officials say visitors should take extra precautions to prevent wildfires.