An 11-year-old Arizona boy is facing felony charges after allegedly sparking a brushfire that caused more than $30,000 in damage and destroyed two vacant buildings before creeping within 20 feet of an occupied home.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that witnesses saw three boys "playing with aerosol cans and a lighter" on the former Beaver Creek golf course.
The sheriff said the two other boys tried to stop the incident and stamp out the fire, but were unsuccessful.
"We truly hope this 11-year-old learned his lesson," Sheriff David Rhodes said in a statement. "Wildland crews and firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the residents in our community. YCSO is going to [hold] those responsible accountable."
Bodycam video shows deputies at the scene, assessing the damage. One man says the fire destroyed beehives and a neighbor’s backyard.
"Like they say, it spreads like wildfire," one of them can be heard saying, pointing to smoke on the horizon.
The unnamed child faces three felony charges, including arson, criminal damage and endangerment, in addition to a misdemeanor charge of reckless burning.
"We are well into wildfire season and as we head into the holiday weekend, we want everyone to understand just how quickly brush fires can start and how dangerous they can be to the community," the sheriff’s office said.
The fire comes as the community is also dealing with the massive Spur Fire in Bagdad, Ariz.
That fire had destroyed two to three dozen homes and covered 150 acres as of Thursday night, before firefighters were able to contain its spread.
And in California just over a week ago, authorities said three Contra Costa County children blew up a house and burned vehicles and a storage yard after playing with fire in their backyard.