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Wyoming Man Sent $6m Bill Over Wildfire
A 77-year-old man accused of accidentally starting a wildfire that threatened homes in Wyoming has been sent a $6.3m (£3.8m) bill by the US Forest Service.
James Anderson has been asked to contribute towards the $9m (£5.5m) cost of tackling the Horsethief Canyon fire, which burned 3,200 acres (five square miles) of forest in September 2012.
At the height of the fire, thousands of people living in the town of Jackson were warned to prepare to evacuate their homes.
The US Forest Service claims Mr Anderson lit the fire in a rusty barrel and allowed it to get out of control.
It said the fire "was caused by ash and other incendiary materials escaping from a hole in the bottom of the barrel and igniting surrounding fuels", according to the Jackson Hole News and Guide.
Hundreds of firefighters spent 10 days tackling the blaze, which had threatened to spread over ridges near Cache Creek and into Jackson - home to around 10,000 people.
The bill sent to Mr Anderson reportedly includes $3.8m (£2.3m) for costs incurred by the US Forest Service, $1.9m (£1.2m) for the Bureau of Land Management, $64,500 (£39,180) for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and $154,000 (£93,580) for the National Park Service, as well as $252,000 (£153,140) for the state of Wyoming and Teton County.
The Jackson Hole News and Guide said Mr Anderson had been told he could pay in full or through a payment plan, stay the debt by filing for bankruptcy, dispute the amount or negotiate an alternative settlement.
Mr Anderson's attorney declined to comment.
Federal agencies spent $1.9bn (£1.2bn) tackling wildfires in 2012 - the second biggest annual bill in history, according to statistics from the National Interagency Fire Centre.
There were 838 wildfires in Wyoming that year, destroying more than 350,000 acres of land.
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