Firebug firefighter ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution

A month after he was released from prison, Nathaniel Bartholomew, now 21, was ordered to pay restitution for intentionally setting a 2012 wildfire that destroyed one home and threatened more than 100 others.

The $2.3 million judgment was ordered to mostly cover the cost of fighting the fire near the Wilderness Ranch subdivision near Robie Creek in Boise County. Some money will go to victims who were injured or had property destroyed in the fire.

Two claims totaled $2.2 million. Twelve other claims ranged in size from $1,237 to $21,869. The judgment was entered May 28 by 4th District Judge Patrick Owen, who originally oversaw the case.

The Karney Fire began Sept. 17, 2012, about five miles north of Idaho 21 along Robie Creek Road east of Boise. By the time firefighters contained the blaze several days later, it had destroyed 440 acres.

Bartholomew was a member of the Clear Creek volunteer fire department and lived in the Robie Creek area. He was arrested while fighting the fire after witnesses said they saw him walking away from the area where the fire started.

He later pleaded guilty to one count of felony third-degree arson.

He was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison. He was released April 30 after serving two years.

Bartholomew will remain on supervision through April 2023, according to the Idaho Department of Correction.

At the time of Bartholomew’s arrest, Boise County sheriff’s officials said the teen set the fire to get the attention of his father, also a firefighter. Bartholomew told investigators that working with his dad on fires was a bonding experience.