A firework at a gender reveal party triggered a wildfire in Southern California that has destroyed 7,000 acres and forced many residents to flee their homes. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible. The couple responsible for the fire in California, for instance, could be forced to foot the multi-million dollar bill associated with damage caused by the fire.
The couple could also face a variety of criminal charges depending on if homes were destroyed. They could face violations of public resources codes and even arson under California's penal code section 452, which can result in sentences of up to nine years in prison. Oregon Revised Statute 164.335 states “a person commits the crime of reckless burning if the person recklessly damages property of another by fire or explosion.” Reckless burning is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $6,250, or both. For a person to be found guilty of arson in the first or second degree, the prosecution would need to demonstrate that the fire and subsequent damage was caused intentionally.
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