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Charges filed against 2 men accused of sparking Dump Fire

Published: Thursday, Oct. 18 2012 7:24 p.m. MDT

Smoke and flames are seen over homes as the Dump Fire burns near Saratoga Springs, Utah on Friday, June 22, 2012. Weeks after the fire has been put out, a new fire of sorts has flared in Saratoga Springs about how the unfortunately monikered Dump Fire got its name. Saratoga Springs officials and residents are not happy to say the least that the fire over Alpine got the picturesque name of Quail Fire while their fire got something, er, a touch less elegant.

Daily Herald, Jim McAuley, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Charges have been filed against two men accused of sparking the destructive Dump Fire near Saratoga Springs in June.

Kenneth Nielsen, 37, of Washington City, and Jeffery Conant, 42, of Woodinville, Wash., were charged Thursday in 4th District Court with reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor, and use of a prohibited target, a class B misdemeanor.

Charging documents indicate the packaging of an explosive target and a fragment of a detonated target were found adjacent to the fire's point of origin. Investigators identified Nielsen's fingerprints on the target packaging, charges state.

A Saratoga Springs resident had reported hearing an explosion and seeing smoke about 15 minutes before seeing the fire, according to court documents.

The Dump Fire burned about 5,500 acres, mandated evacuations of hundreds of homes and cost $2.1 million to suppress, according to the charges.

The burn scar left on the mountain above a Saratoga Springs neighborhood also contributed to a massive mudslide that flooded 11 homes in August.

McKenzie Romero Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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