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Arsonist In Big Sur Wildfire Receives Lengthy Prison Term

The Fresno, Ca., man found guilty of starting the devastating Dolan Fire near Big Sur will serve 24 years in state prison, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. Ivan Gomez, 31, was sentenced Wednesday in Monterey County Superior Court in connection to the 2020 fire that seriously injured one firefighter, destroyed multiple homes and killed several California condors. Gomez was found guilty April 7 of 16 felony charges, including arson. Gomez was sentenced to nine years, with an additional 5-year enhancement for destroying 14 structures. He will serve consecutive sentences for four additional charges.

On August 18, 2020, California State Parks rangers saw a fire along the ridgeline of Los Padres National Forest. "At approximately the same time, officers were dispatched to a man throwing rocks at vehicles on Highway 1 and Lime Creek Bridge," the District Attorney's Office said. Officers contacted the man, later identified as Gomez, who gave the location of his starting the fire. The Forest Service’s fire investigation team eventually confirmed that the wildfire originated at that location. That proved to be essential evidence in the trial against Gomez, which concluded with a guilty verdict last month. The Dolan Fire scorched a total of 124,924 acres. It cost nearly $63 million to fight the wildfire, which was contained on Dec. 31, 2020.


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