Think Out Loud

Criminal case dismissed against burn boss in Grant County

By Gemma DiCarlo (OPB)
June 10, 2024 1 p.m.

Broadcast: Monday, June 10

FILE: The 2015 Canyon Creek Complex fire burned more than 110,000 acres, much of it in the Malheur National Forest. In 2022, the Grant County Sheriff's Office arrested a U.S. Forest Service employee for a planned burn that jumped to private property from the national forest.

FILE: The 2015 Canyon Creek Complex fire burned more than 110,000 acres, much of it in the Malheur National Forest. In 2022, the Grant County Sheriff's Office arrested a U.S. Forest Service employee for a planned burn that jumped to private property from the national forest.

Brandon Swanson

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In October 2022, Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley arrested Ricky Snodgrass, a U.S. Forest Service employee who was leading a prescribed burn that jumped to private land and burned roughly 20 acres. In February of this year, a grand jury indicted Snodgrass on a misdemeanor count of reckless burning.

His case was then moved to federal court, where it was dismissed last week. The case was a particularly striking example of longstanding tensions between federal agencies and local communities in rural Oregon.

Conrad Wilson is a reporter covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB. He joins us with more details on the case.

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