Man who set Sunflower wildfire sentenced to probation - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Man who set Sunflower wildfire sentenced to probation

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Steven Shiflet at Federal Court building in Phoenix - 4/15/13 Steven Shiflet at Federal Court building in Phoenix - 4/15/13
PHOENIX -

It burned 18,000 acres last year and on Monday, the man who sparked the Sunflower wildfire found out his punishment.

Steven Shiflet was an Eagle Scout, an upstanding member of the community, loved the outdoors, but made a dumb move in a bone dry forest -- and the Sunflower fire roared to life.

The move was made by the Mesa resident on May 12.  He and four friends were camping near Sycamore Creek when they started target shooting.

Shiflet fired an incendiary shell that lit some brush on fire and the men could not extinguish it.  They called 911 and were told to leave the area immediately.

Shiflet was charged with three counts in federal court.

He told the court he never intended for this to happen and that he was extremely sorry.

Judge Steven Logan sentenced Shiflet to 200 hours of community service to be served with the Forest Service and two years probation.

Logan called Shiflet's firing of the shell a momentary lapse in judgement, cited his good standing in the community and the fact that he's never been in trouble before.

It cost the Forest Service $4.4 million to put out the wildfire and the U.S. did not seek restitution in this case.

Shiflet was fined $2,000.  He did not say anything to FOX 10 as he left court Monday morning.

Shiflet was 23-years-old at the time of the Sunflower fire.  He was described as an avid hiker and camper and the U.S. prosecuting attorney even acknowledged in court that Shiflet feels worse than anyone about the blaze.

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