Woman Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison After Setting Kanawha County Wildfire

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images)

In West Virginia, a woman has been arrested in connection with the Kanawha County wildfire that burned earlier this year. Hannah Faith Boley, 23, has been sentenced to four years in prison for “setting fires to lands in Kanawha County,” according to the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

The Horsemill Hollow Wildfire started around 3:30 pm on March 22, 2022, and burned about one-tenth of an acre. There were no injuries during the fire, and allegedly no structures were threatened.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry worked closely with the Cedar Grove and Glasgow Volunteer Fire Departments, the Cedar Grove Police Department, and the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office to make an arrest.

Woman Sentenced For Starting Wildfire in Kanawha County, West Virginia; Meanwhile, Nebraska Residents Are Left Uneasy After Fire Sweeps Through

Nebraska residents are worried following the Bovee wildfire that tore through over 18,000 acres of central Nebraska and the Nebraska National Forest. They’re worried that something like this could happen again. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but it is about 97% contained as of Oct. 7, six days after it ignited.

The fire burned through the community of Halsey as well as a significant portion of the forest. The Nebraska National Forest is known for its backcountry trails for ATVs and adventure-seekers. The community is worried that one of its main tourist attractions is no longer.

In addition to decimating the forest, the fire also destroyed a beloved 4-H camp and killed Purdum, Nebraska’s assistant fire chief Mike Moody. There’s the possibility that the state could replant the forest, as it did in 1965 after the Plum wildfire destroyed a portion of the forest. The Nebraska National Forest was once the largest hand-planted forest in the world because of hundreds of volunteers.

Julie Bain, ranger for the Bessey District of the Nebraska National Forest, said that a lot of conversations need to happen before a decision is reached about the forest. Additionally, she added that the forest is about 30% of its original size. But, she said, “It’s not like there’s no forest. It just looks different.”

Sheep Farmer Turned Animal Behavior Researcher Believes Wild Horses Could Help Curb Wildfires

According to a study from sheep farmer turned animal behavior researcher William E. Simpson II, the presence of wild horses in the wilderness could help reduce the size and impact of wildfires in the American west.

How could horses do this, you ask? It all comes down to Simpson’s keen eye. He noticed something when he was volunteering with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection during the Klamathon wildfire. There were significant breaks in the fire in places where he knew wild horses had grazed. They’d eaten the grass down to two or three inches. These breaks allowed fire crews to get in and control the fire.

Simpson has a plan to humanely trap and release a family band of wild horses. The plan would put them in an area where they don’t have to compete with livestock. That way, they can positively impact the land just by grazing.

“The whole idea is let these guys do what they’ve done in nature for a long time, which is manage wildfire fuels,” said Simpson. “That’s what they’re really good at doing.”