Charges dropped against man accused of starting Brian Head Fire

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PROVO, Utah (AP Modified) — State prosecutors dismissed a charge and canceled a jury trial scheduled for a man accused of starting one of the largest wildfires in Utah history.

The state dismissed a misdemeanor charge of burning during a closed fire season against 63-year-old Robert Ray Lyman Tuesday, The Daily Herald reported.

A misdemeanor reckless burn charge involving starting a fire that endangers the lives of animals was dismissed with prejudice Feb. 25.

Lyman pleaded not guilty to both charges in Provo district court in June.

The wildfire that burned 112 square miles (290 square kilometers) in Iron and Garfield counties destroyed 13 homes and caused more than $40 million in damage.

The blaze forced about 2,000 people to evacuate the area for almost two weeks while emergency crews battled the fire.

The Taylorsville resident was burning weeds near his cabin when the wildfire began, authorities said.

Lyman realized the water hose he had did not reach the burn pile and the jugs were too heavy to carry after the flames began to spread, court documents said.

Defense attorney Andrew Deiss argued Lyman did not consciously disregard the risk and took precautions before he began.

Deiss did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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IRON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – UPDATE: Robert Lyman was booked into jail and released Tuesday, August 1. 
A Utah man was charged in connection with a massive wildfire in southern Utah. 
The Iron County Attorney charged Robert Ray Lyman, 61, with burning without a permit and reckless burning. Both charges are misdemeanors. 
Lyman is accused of starting the Brian Head Fire on June 17. The fire burned more than 71,000 acres in Iron and Garfield Counties, destroyed more than 20 structures and forced hundreds to evacuate. 
More than 1,600 firefighters from around the region responded to the area to battle the flames that raged on for nearly a month. 
Officials previously said the fire was started by a landowner using a weed torch in the hot, dry conditions. 

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