2 accused of improper tool use near Calif. fire

AP News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2009 1:12 PM

Two men have been charged with improperly cutting brush with power tools that authorities suspect caused a massive wildfire in Santa Barbara County.

The men, 50-year-old Craig Henstine and 45-year-old Dana Larsen were charged Thursday with failing to obtain permits to use cutting equipment in a high-danger fire area and to ensure they didn't leave any smoldering areas.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $25,000 fine.

Authorities say they also plan to seek restitution for fire damages and firefighting costs involved in the 8,700-acre blaze that erupted on May 5 and burned 80 homes.

Calls to the men's attorneys weren't immediately returned.