A 62-year-old Cheyenne man has been arrested for Third Degree Arson in connection with a fire that burned over 6,600 acres in the Happy Jack/Horse Creek area on March 1.

That's according to a post on the Laramie County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

Kenneth Burke was arrested on Wednesday.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Brandon Warner says investigators think the blaze was started by a garbage fire that got out of control. Under Wyoming law, third-degree arson is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Fire Forced Evacuations, Damaged Homes And Property

The blaze forced the evacuation of several homes in the area. Three homes suffered some damage, including such things as damage to a deck. None of the homes was destroyed. Over 60 properties were damaged, often consisting of such things as burned grass, according to Cheyenne/Laramie County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeanine West.

Firefighters and other emergency responders from around Wyoming and northern Colorado were called in to fight the fire.

Under Wyoming law, the criteria for third-degree arson is as follows:

Wyoming State Statute 6-3-103. Arson; third degree.
(a) A person is guilty of third-degree arson if he intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and intentionally, recklessly or with criminal negligence:
(i) Places another in danger of bodily injury; or
(ii) Destroys or damages any property of another which has a value of two hundred dollars ($200.00) or more.
The sheriff's office post says "If you chose to burn garbage or debris, it’s your responsibility to ensure the fire stays contained. Wind and weather need to be taken into consideration."

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Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore

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