The Sunflower Fire, which has burned nearly 18,000 acres of Arizona forest, was allegedly started by a bachelor party firing guns.
Steven Craig Shiflet, 23, from Mesa, Ariz., has been charged by a complaint in federal district court that a shotgun shell fired by him sparked the fire.
“He and four of his friends had traveled from Mesa to the Sycamore Creek area for a camp out and bachelor party on May 11 of this year,” said Bill Solomon with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to a press release from the Forest Service, Shiflet and four friends were firing at targets on May 12 when Shiflet loaded an incendiary shotgun shell and fired it. Shortly after, the group of men saw smoke behind the area they were firing at.
The packaging of the shotgun shell warned of an extreme fire hazard, saying
flames would shoot 100 feet and burn everything in their path.
The men attempted to extinguish the flames.
Shiflet told investigators he called 911 from his cellphone to report the fire
and was told to leave the area.
Investigators tracked down the group through a license plate number on their
vehicle. The five men in the group, who were out camping for a bachelor party,
told nearly identical stories, authorities said.
Shiflet faces three charges, each of which carries a maximum penalty of six
months in prison and a $5,000 fine if he’s convicted. There was no answer at
potential phone listings for him and he did not have an attorney listed with the
The Associated Press and KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments