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Pennsylvania woman sentenced for starting fires

A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced for her part in starting fires in western Wyoming in the summer of 2016.

Stephanie Joy Nicole Dodson, 45, of Everett, Pennsylvania was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson on two felony counts of “timber set afire.”

Dodson was arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with 8 felony counts related to various fires that investigators believe she started between August 14, 2016 and August 29, 2016 in the Buffalo Valley Region. Six of the fires were started on August 29 near Forest Road 30162, near the Buffalo Valley Road, near Burro North Road, near Wilderness Ranch Road, and near Forest Road 30060. Dodson was also suspected of setting fires August 14 near Buffalo Valley Road and and August 22 near Pacific Creek Road.

Dodson pleaded guilty to starting two fires, one in Grand Teton National Park on August 22, known as the “Pacific Creek Road Fire” and one on August 29 in the Bridger Teton National Forest near Forest Road 30162, known as the “Flagstaff Fire.” In exchange, 6 other felony counts were dismissed.

The Flagstaff Fire was the most serious of the fires because of its threat to property and the resources used to fight it. Those factors drove the restitution estimate to over $100,000.

Dodson was sentenced to 4 years and 5 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a $200,000 special assessment and $105,712.68 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service with assistance from the Teton County, Wyoming Sheriff’s Office and Grand Teton National Park.

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