Three men using propane bottles for target practice started the wildfire east of Woodland that burned at least 110 acres, police say.
Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies arrested Michael J. Estrada-Cardenas, 22, Nathan C. Taylor, 21, and Adrian D. Taylor, 23, on Friday in connection with the Colvin Creek fire, which firefighters have been battling since July 19.
The three were booked into Cowlitz County jail on suspicion of first-degree reckless burning, a class C felony.
Officials said evidence found at the scene, along with information learned in interviews, led them to the three men.
According to a statement from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, the fire started when the suspects shot at four 16-ounce propane bottles using a .223-caliber A/R rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9 mm pistol. The rifle was seized as evidence.
The suspects told investigators they brought the propane bottles from Vancouver to a rural area off Fredrickson Road in the Lewis River Valley to shoot them.
The suspects said they put the flames out and left even though there were still small burning embers on the ground, according to the statement.
The men are awaiting their first appearances in court and have not been assigned bail.