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   Iditarod champ Martin Buser accused of failing to
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   Autor  Beitrag: Iditarod champ Martin Buser accused of failing to  (Gelesen: 16723 mal)
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Iditarod champ Martin Buser accused of failing to
( Datum: Juni 13th, 2005 um 11:29:24am)
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Martin Buser, a four-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, is accused of failing to properly put out an old debris burn on his Big Lake property, then failing to report it.
Buser is scheduled for an appearance in court in Palmer on Tuesday over the complaint filed by the state Division of Forestry.
Passing aircraft alerted forestry managers to an out-of-control grass and brush fire the evening of May 20. State and local firefighters, air tankers and a helicopter dumping buckets of water responded. Before crews got a handle on it, gusty winds spread the fire across about an acre, according to reports at the time.
Buser said he had a valid reason for not calling 911 - he and two others were busy battling the blaze.
Buser was cited for failing to extinguish a legal debris pile, according to an affidavit filed in Palmer District Court by state forest marshal Tom Greiling. Buser started the fire before the state's burn ban went into effect May 1.
Asked on scene why he didn't report the fire, Buser replied, " 'I was reluctant to report it due to my bad reputation with Forestry,' " Greiling wrote in his affidavit.
Buser, who ran the fastest Iditarod in race history in 2002, gained some alternate renown during a huge fire in the area in 1996. Buser rode shotgun as a friend crashed a "borrowed" Big Lake fire truck through the fire station's bay door to save their homes from the approaching conflagration. Buser is a former volunteer firefighter.
Buser was burning debris several weeks before the burn ban to clear land around a cabin he and his wife own, he said. He doesn't dispute the fire's cause, but hopes the state doesn't charge him the cost of putting out the flames.
According to the affidavit, Greiling discovered a hot layer in the ground left over from Buser's April debris burn. The smoldering pile ignited grass and other natural kindling, then flared up in the wind.
State crews have been called before to a fire on Buser's property, which is about 25 air miles north of Anchorage.
In 1997, a small fire that rekindled from a brush pile on Buser's property scorched about a tenth of an acre. Embers in the pile smoldered and followed a root to ignite flammable materials, forestry officials said at the time.
Crews extinguished that fire shortly after it was reported.

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