Suspect in Weber Fire awaits ruling

DURANGO - A juvenile suspected of starting the Weber Fire was the subject of a two-day trial this week in federal court in Durango.

The youth faces two counts of juvenile delinquency as it relates to the Weber Fire, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.

The trial was closed to the public because the case involves a juvenile. It was a trial before the judge, meaning there was no jury.

Federal Judge James A. Parker of Albuquerque took several legal issues under advisement and gave attorneys 10 days to file legal briefs before he issues a ruling in the case, according to a person who was knowledgeable of the proceedings but unauthorized to speak.

The 10,000-acre Weber fire started June 22 and burned for 15 days southeast of Mancos. It threatened dozens of homes and cost more than $5 million to suppress.

The fire resulted in 140 homes being evacuated and 390 homes being put on pre-evacuation notice. Flames came within feet of several houses, but only a small outbuilding was lost.

The juvenile's name, gender and age have not been released.

The juvenile is accused of gathering leaves and underbrush and using a lighter to start the fire, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The youth faces anything from probation to being incarcerated for up to five years on both counts.