The Vancouver, Wash. teenager who sparked the massive Eagle Creek Fire last September by throwing a firework into a ravine appeared in Hood River County Circuit Court today.
The 15-year-old pleaded guilty to 12 misdemeanors and received 1,920 hours of community service and five years of probation.
The guilty teen expressed his remorse in a statement to the court today.
Here is what he had to say.
"I want to express how sorry I am for what I did. I know a lot of people suffered because of a bad decision that I made. I'm sorry to the first responders who risked their lives to put out the fires, I am sorry to the hikers that were trapped, I am sorry to the people who worried about their safety and their homes that day, and for weeks afterwards. I am truly sorry about the loss of nature that occurred because of my careless action.
Every day I think about this terrible decision and its awful consequences. Every time I hear people talk about the fire, I put myself down. I know I will have to live with my bad decision for the rest of my life, but I have learned from this experience and will work hard to help rebuild the community in any way that I can. I now realize how important it is to think before acting because my actions can have serious consequences. I, myself, love spending time in nature and I now realize how much work it takes to maintain the National Forest so people can enjoy it.
I sincerely apologize to everyone who had to deal with this fire, I cannot imagine how scary it must have been for you. I know I have to earn your forgiveness and I will work hard to do so and one day, I hope I will. Thank you for giving me a chance to speak. This has been a big learning experience for me and I take it very seriously. I apologize with all my heart to everyone in the Gorge."