USA — A Yuma man awaits sentencing after a federal judge found him guilty of setting a June 28, 2008 fire near Crown King, 20 miles south of Prescott.
Sentencing for 53-year-old David Cygan is set for May 3 in federal court in Phoenix. He could get 36 months in prison and a $30,000 fine.
Prosecutors said Cygan lit an illegal warning fire while he was lost south of Crown King. It turned into the Lane 2 wildfire.
By the time firefighters put the fire out on July 14, 2008, it had burned across 9,600 acres at a cost of $5.3 million.
The blaze burned five homes, a sawmill and 12 outbuildings while forcing the evacuation of all Crown King residents and visitors.
According to a previous story in the Yuma Sun, the initial incident began June 28 when the Arizona Department of Public Safety sent out a search and rescue helicopter to locate missing hikers in the forest. During their successful search, they also noticed a man lighting signal fires in the area.
He was identified as Cygan, who said he was helping a woman looking for her missing boyfriend and children, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix.
After finding the missing hikers, Cygan decided to light a signal fire to notify authorities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Cygan later lit a warning fire, which grew out of control when he left it unattended to get water from a nearby cabin, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.