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Arson charges filed for Bear Trap Fire

Published On: Oct 25 2012 06:43:03 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 25 2012 06:51:40 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Prosecutors in Madison County filed charges against the man suspected of starting June's Bear Trap fire, southwest of Bozeman.  Former

Bozeman resident Kyler Schmitz is facing eight counts of felony arson.

Prosecutors say Schmitz and several others stayed the night at the Bear Trap Campground, downstream from the Warm Springs boat launch off Highway 84.
According to court records, he brought fireworks along and on the morning of the 25th, he lit off his last sparkler bomb before the group planned to float the Madison.
Witnesses told investigators the sparks ignited dry grass in the area.

Court records put the cost of fighting the fire at more than $1.2 million.  Damages to public and private property are estimated at more than $3.8 million.

We spoke to our colleagues at the Madisonian in Ennis.
They tell us Kyler Schmitz appeared before a judge on Monday and the judge entered a plea for him of not guilty on all charges.

For a look at the Madisonian's article, click here.