SALT LAKE CITY — A photographer who started fires under Delicate Arch in Arches National Park for dramatic effect was charged with seven misdemeanors Friday in federal court.
Michael Fatali, 36, of Springdale, Utah, burned four fires underneath or near Utah's most recognizable icon, Delicate Arch, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Conservationists attempted to scrub the rock Thursday, but the discoloration of the famous red sandstone proved difficult to remove.
Officials believe the man used manufactured fireplace logs to start three of the fires during a mid-September night last year. The logs contained a waxy substance that penetrated into the soft sandstone.
The charges accuse Fatali of lighting another fire during the same time in a sandy bowl near Delicate Arch. According to investigators, Fatali directed members of his photo workshop group to collect wood to build the fire. He allegedly left it smoldering throughout the night.