Roatcap arsonist barred from using fire

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 10:04 PM

Convicted of starting the 2012 Roatcap fire, Roger "Bucky" Stratton was instructed to never use fire again. Ever.

At a sentencing hearing on Jan. 23, the 54-year-old Dolores man was placed on supervised probation for five years. The "most important condition" of the probation order, according to District Court Judge Todd Plewe, bars Stratton from ever attending an outdoor fire and permitting one at his residence, burning trash, disposing of ashes or using a woodstove.

"You're the type of person that shouldn't have fire," Plewe. "That's it."

Facing more than four decades in prison, Stratton pleaded guilty to both felony and misdemeanor arson charges on Nov. 21, 2013. The Oct. 24, 2012, Roatcap fire scorched some 400 acres and forced the evacuation of 30 homes. No injuries were reported.

Stratton won't serve time behind bars. He was instructed to complete a mental health evaluation, refrain of drug or alcohol use and to pay more than $4,000 in court fines and costs.

He was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $45,000 for losses sustained by private property owners. However, Plewe last week ordered District Attorney Will Furse to amend the request to include public funds spent to battle the blaze. A restitution hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 14.