Out of pocket nearly $60,000 and facing some trouble with the law after his spring cleaning operation touched off a 700 acre wildfire is Brian Leon Sparks.
A 55-year-old Bryceville man cited by the state for illegally burning books and starting a wildfire that ended up scorching 705 acres in late March now has a $59,403.38 bill to settle for the personnel and machinery used to extinguish that blaze.
Brian Leon Sparks received the bill Monday from the Florida Department of Agriculture for “the amount we incurred in suppressing the fire,” according to its cover letter.
The invoiced bill is on top of a misdemeanor criminal citation for failure to obtain a department permit and reckless land burning after he started burning old paperbacks and clutter outside his Wills Lane home March 22, according to Forest Service officials. The flames got out of control, forcing evacuations, damaging eight homes and prompting a massive fire-suppression effort.