An 18-year-old man received a criminal citation for using illegal fireworks near the Lyle sandbar, which investigators are pointing to as the cause of the fire that sparked on the west side of town on Independence Day last Sunday.
Multiple witnesses saw the fireworks discharge and caught the act on video, Klickitat County Undersheriff Tim Neher said, which helped sheriff’s deputies confirm the identity of the suspect, Dallesport local Alexander Tally.
Tally was charged with reckless burning in the second degree, which is a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment up to 364 days, by fine not exceeding $5,000, or a combination of both.
Neher said Washington Department of Natural Resources referred the case to the Washington Attorney General’s office, who can seek restitution on behalf of the agencies involved with fighting the seven-acre fire.
While cost estimates are still coming in, Neher said he expects the real cost of fighting the July 4 fire between $75,000 and $100,000. That day, assets from multiple county fire districts, air support and tree-fallers, as well as other assets from DNR and the Department of Fish and Wildlife were activated in response to the blaze.
Multiple structures were threatened by the fire, which prompted officials to announce a Level 3 evacuation order for the entire community of Lyle. The order lasted nearly two hours and a 100% containment announcement was made the following day.
Neher said the type of fireworks used in the ignition of the fire, namely bottle rockets, are illegal in the state of Washington.