Man who started Henry's Creek Fire ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution - East Idaho News

Man who started Henry’s Creek Fire ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution

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IDAHO FALLS — An Ammon man who was sentenced for starting the Henry’s Creek Fire in 2016, was ordered to pay a lofty restitution amount Friday morning.

Kristian John Lopez was ordered to pay $1,727,110.91 million in restitution. He was set to appear in Bonneville County court Friday morning for a restitution hearing, but didn’t show up. Although Lopez failed to appear in court, it wasn’t the cause of the high restitution amount.

Prosecuting Attorney John Dewey told the defense did not file a motion contesting the $1.7 million prior to the hearing. Whether or not Lopez was present the amount would have still been in place.

Ammon man pleads guilty to starting Henry’s Creek Fire

“The judge ordered the judgment as a default judgment basically,” Dewey said. “It wasn’t a contested hearing… if they had filed an objection I think the court probably would have scheduled another date and sent out notice for their objection to be heard.”

Judge Steven A. Gardner made the ruling from the bench and paperwork for the order is still set to be signed.

Lopez was sentenced last December to two years of formal misdemeanor probation after starting the Henry’s Creek Fire. Lopez was also sentenced to 180 days in jail. He was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and complete 120 hours of community service.

“Apparently Lopez and his friends attempted to put the fire out but was unsuccessful and called 911 to report the fire before leaving the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a Sept. 2016 news release.

The Henry’s Creek Fire burned more than 50,000 acres near Idaho Falls. Over 260 personnel, along with engines, heavy equipment and aircraft helped to suppress the fire and took nearly two weeks to contain.

The estimated cost of the fire was roughly $4.4 million.