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Madison Co. jury: Schmitz not guilty of charges related to Bear Trap II fire

Published On: May 01 2013 04:36:52 PM MDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 05:52:29 PM MDT

A Madison County jury found a Billings man not guilty Wednesday of starting last summer's Bear Trap II fire.

Kyler Schmitz faced eight counts of felony arson and one alternate count of negligent arson, also a felony.

The Bear Trap II fire broke out southwest of Bozeman along the Madison river in late June of last year.

Fueled by strong winds, the fire burned more than 23 square miles and destroyed homes, fences and grazing land.

Court documents say damages topped $3.2 million.  That does not include the more than $1 million it cost to put out the fire.