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BP agent charged for starting 47K fire in Santa Rita Mountains


TUCSON – The Border Patrol agent who admitted to starting the 47,000-acre blaze in the Santa Rita Mountains last spring has been federally charged, according to court documents.

Last May, preliminary reports from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department cited that Dennis Dickey accidentally started the Sawmill Fire after he reportedly shot an explosive compound known as Tannerite. The fire began April 23 and burned for more than a week.

The court documents say Dickey immediately reported the blaze and admitted he started the fire. The explosion from the shot was caught on video by a witness.

According to officials, no injuries were reported in the fire. In addition, no homes were lost. The fire did burn timber, trees, slash brush and grass that spread through Coronado National Forest, court documents say.

The Border Patrol agent was charged with causing a fire without a permit, a class B misdemeanor.

Authorities said controlling fire cost more than $7 million.


Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He's a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester. Email Noel at
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