Ex-Utah trooper, fire chief accused of arson in 2nd wildfire

Published on October 06, 2017 at 12:53PM

VERNAL, Utah (AP) — Another arson charge has been filed against a former Utah Highway Patrol trooper and fire chief already accused of purposely starting a forest fire.

A grand jury indicted Rex Olsen Wednesday on charges of arson causing property damage in excess of $5,000 and throwing or placing a lighted item on Bureau of Land Management land.

The charge stems from a May 30 blaze that torched 900 acres (360 hectares) and briefly closed a stretch of state Route 40 in eastern Utah.

The former fire chief of Neola in Duchesne County was charged in August with sparking another nearby fire on June 9. The highway patrol fired him on July 1.

His lawyer, John Hancock, did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment on Friday.