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Forester Charged in Blaze in Colo. Is Fired for 'Conduct'

June 30, 2002|From Times Wire Services

DURANGO, Colo. — The U.S. Forest Service confirmed Saturday that it has fired Terry Lynn Barton, the woman charged with starting the huge Hayman fire.

Barton, 38, learned of her termination in a letter sent last week, said Forest Service spokesman Lynn Young. He said Barton was fired because of her "conduct" but would not elaborate.

Barton is accused of starting a fire that has destroyed at least 133 homes and consumed 137,000 acres since it erupted June 8.

Full containment of the fire is expected tonight, a spokesman said. More than 1,600 firefighters have toiled to put out the blaze in a fight that has cost more than $27 million.

If convicted of all four counts, Barton could go to prison for up to 65 years. She was released from jail Thursday under conditions that include staying at a halfway house and not entering any forests.

Her trial is scheduled to start Aug. 26.

Barton, who was patrolling the area where the Hayman fire started, 55 miles southwest of Denver, told investigators she was burning a letter from her estranged husband and it accidentally sparked a wildfire.

Barton, an 18-year veteran of seasonal Forest Service work, was on a one-year trial, or probation, to become a permanent, part-time Forest Service worker when the blaze ignited.

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