For most people, hanging out with friends isn't going to lead to trouble as long as they spend their time together doing legal activities. For one group of three friends who were spending time around a campfire in California, things took a horrible turn and now the men are facing federal charges for a fire that destroyed property.
The three men claim they were just sitting by the campfire when a breeze blew and started a wildfire that spread because of the windy and dry conditions. The men ran away from the fire. Two of them were running away from the mountain when emergency services personnel first responded to the fire. The third man had to be removed from the mountain by the U.S. Forest Service. When police searched the men's backpacks, they found marijuana and cigarettes in two of the backpacks.
The blaze quickly spread, which forced an evacuation of thousands of local residents. Five homes were destroyed by the fire.
The men are facing federal charges of unlawfully causing timber to burn. None of the men had a criminal record in Los Angeles County. They are said to be apologetic. Bail in the case was originally set at $20,000 for each man, but was raised to $500,000 for each of them because of the seriousness of the wildfire. The cost of resources to fight the blaze and the cost of damaged property were also considered when the bail was raised.
There is nothing wrong with spending time with your friends, but if things go wrong like they did in this case, you might find yourself facing serious criminal charges. Making sure you have a strong defense can help minimize the repercussions of the charges.
Source: ABC7.com, "Colby Fire: Suspects to face federal charges for Glendora blaze" No author given, Jan. 17, 2014