The mountain biker who heeded nature’s urgent call, burned his toilet paper, and started a Boise foothills fire in July may have to pay up, according to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesperson.
The 73-acre brush fire took four air tankers and three helicopters to contain, costing the BLM between $50,000 – $75,000, said Carrie Bilbao, BLM Fire Prevention and Mitigation Technician. And that’s not the final tally — other agencies still need to submit their estimates.
Calculating precise cost and collecting payment is a complicated process, said Bilbao, and it is likely to take well into next year.
After a notice is mailed, the suspect will have 21 days to counter with his story and determine if he was negligent. According to Bilbao, “by the act of burning toilet paper in hot, dry conditions … there appears to be negligence.”
The foothills fire broke out on July 22 after a mountain biker pulled off trail and dropped his drawers to relieve himself. After the deed, the cyclist burned his toilet paper, a practice sometimes used by backcountry enthusiasts. He tried to stomp out the fire, but it quickly escalated out of control.
To his credit, the man turned himself in following day. Police said the scene “evidence” matched the story.
For now, the BLM is using the story as a reminder “…pack it in, pack it out.”