Update - 10/13/2021:
According to court documents, there were various small fires that destroyed an area 30 feet by 15 feet in size.
“We were fortunate that the forest service responded and were able to get hold of it,” says Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Executive Director, Chet Work.
GVLT who helps manage the trial says that this could’ve been worse.
“The fire didn’t impact the trail, and it didn’t spread so I think we are very fortunate that this one was put out quickly the trail was reopened quickly,” says Work
Kerry’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 28.
BOZEMAN — A Bozeman man accused of starting fires near a popular hiking trail to reportedly keep bears away, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Thursday.
Justin Kerry, 41, was charged with arson, after allegedly starting several fires on Drinking Horse Trail on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.
According to charging documents, at approximately 7:11 am on Wednesday, Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputies took Kerry into custody while investigating a wildfire call on the trail.
Kerry reportedly told deputies he started the fires to keep bears away.
Fire personnel told deputies that various small fires had been started and grown together. There was reportedly no sign of fire rings or other safety measures. An area approximately 30 feet by 15 feet of the Drinking Horse trail system was destroyed in the process.
Kerry faces a $10,000 bail.