ST. GEORGE — A trial set to begin Wednesday has been continued for two teenagers charged with starting a wildfire last summer that consumed more than 30,000 acres near town.

The 16-year-old boys, who have not been identified, are each charged with reckless burning and causing a catastrophe, both class A misdemeanors. The trial has been rescheduled for mid-June in 5th District Juvenile Court.

The teens allegedly started the blaze by playing with matches on private property near the Apex mine.

Bureau of Land Management officials estimated the fire, which also blackened much of the Shivwits Reservation, cost taxpayers more than $2 million to put out.

A breakdown by the BLM fire information office in St. George showed 13,055 acres of reservation land was destroyed; 943 acres of Utah state land and 92 acres of private land was burned; and 15,843 acres of BLM land.

At one point there were 500 people from several states working the fire, which took nine days to contain.

Shivwits Reservation Chairman Glen Rogers said the fire was devastating to the community. Boundary fences burned, wildlife habitat was destroyed. Families were evacuated.

"The children couldn't take anything with them and they were crying," he said. "The fire ruined the entire deer habitat."

An effort between reservation leaders, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the state Division of Wildlife Resources, has reseeded the area.


E-mail: nperkins@infowest.com