Steven Craig Shiflet of Mesa has been charged with three misdemeanor counts in connection with starting the 18,000-acre Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest, records show.
The records, first dug up by www.smokinggun.com, reveal that Shiflet managed to start the blaze by firing an "incendiary shotgun shell" from his Remington 12 gauge during a bachelor party in the desert near Sycamore Creek.
A fire information site states that the blaze has been burning since the morning of May 12 and is expected to be fully contained by the end of this month.
Shiflet was one of five men who gathered in the desert to celebrate the May wedding of a friend, Bryan Reeder.
After the group awoke on May 12, they began a target-shooting session. Shiflet loaded the incendiary shell, which was advertised to shoot "100 feet of fire," and blasted it into the brush. When the fire flared up, the men unsuccessfully tried to stomp it out, the site reports.
After being indicted on June 22, Shiflet was served a summons and is expected to be in court for a July 13 hearing. Read the federal complaint on Shiflet here.
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