SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Rapid City man admits to starting a wildfire at the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands that burned more than 2,600 acres in 2021.
On Friday, 23-year old Dustin Rose pleaded guilty to causing a fire and Judge Daneta Wollmann ordered him to pay $16,704 restitution, which was the cost of putting out the wildfire.
According to a document signed by Rose, he admits ignoring “No Motor Vehicle Use” signs on March 6, 2021, and driving off a road so he and his friends could search for agates and other rocks. Rose drove into a creek bed, where his pickup got stuck.
The document goes on to say, “Rose got his pickup high-centered and ruptured the fuel line. The leaking gas, heat from the engine, and Rose’s attempts to get out of the creek bed started a grass fire… Rose admitted that he never reported the fire to anyone because he didn’t want his name associated with a fire.”
Someone in the area saw the pickup and the fire and called 911 to report it. While he was on the phone, he says Rose approached him and asked if he could help him get his pickup out.
“The third party told Rose he had called 911. Rose left the scene in a different vehicle and did not report the fire to anyone,” court documents say.