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Man who started Ponderosa Fire sentenced to 14 years

30-year-old John Ballenger has pleaded no contest to arson charges. He faces up to 14 years in prison.

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 7:17 AM
Updated: Jan. 26, 2018 10:38 AM

UPDATE: 10:36 a.m. 

The man found guilty of starting the destructive Ponderosa Fire has been sentenced to over a decade behind bars.

30 year old John Ballenger has been sentenced to 14 years and four months behind bars, which was the maximum sentence.

He'll serve a minimum 12 year behind bars before being eligible for parole and has been ordered to pay two point nine million dollars in restitution.

He pleaded no contest to arson charges.

Victims of the Ponderosa Fire spoke in court.

Butte county district attorney Mike Ramsey says Ballenger left a camp fire unattended the morning of August 29th and it quickly got out of control, burning thousands of acres east of Lake Oroville destroying 32 homes.

It cost close to 19 million dollars to fight the Ponderosa Fire.

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The man accused of starting the destructive Ponderosa Fire is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.

30-year-old John Ballenger has pleaded no contest to arson charges. He faces up to 14 years in prison.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says Ballenger left a campfire unattended the morning of August 29th. It quickly got out of control, burning thousands of acres east of Lake Oroville, destroying 32 homes.

Ballenger's sentencing hearing is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

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