Indictment indicates anger about BLM land use behind some of the fires-

They are accused of multiple arson wildfires, threats to federal officials,  even a fire set to drive out hunters. This began as early as 1982.  Some locals call them “good people,” “salt of the earth.” Bill Hoyt president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said there are no better people in the world than the Hammonds [family name of the accused].

Oregon ranchers charged with arson and threats. By Jeff Barnard. AP Environmental Writer

Update: The Hammonds are scheduled for arraignment in Eugene U.S. District Court on June 28 on the felony charges, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project and the creator of The Wildlife News.

18 Responses to Oregon ranchers indicted for arson wildfires and threats-

  1. avatar Chris Harbin says:

    It’s good to see that apparently the arsonist was (were) actually caught and will presumably be prosecuted.
    And on Steens Mountain too!
    There seems to be a rise in anti-vigilante-ism. Nonetheless, people keep voting incumbents into office.

    I heard a brief announcement on NPR that the person who allegedly was responsible for the Flagstaff Schultz fire was caught. When I tried to look it up, there appears no reference to this at all. Anyone out there know anything about that??

    • avatar Kropotkin Man says:


      I’ve not heard that anyone has been connected to the fire on THE PEAKS.

      There is another fire just to the south of town. That fire was connected to a camp.

      Sorry, I don’t have more time to get all the details for you.

  2. avatar Virginia says:

    “The salt of the earth” – a person of great worth, kindness, reliability or honesty. Not being a good Christian or anything, I suggest that since this is a biblical term, Jesus said “you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, it is no longer good for anything.” Sounds like these guys weren’t really the salt of the earth and never really had the taste. I guess if things don’t go your way, you just take it into your own hands because you are “the salt of the earth.”

  3. avatar Mike says:

    Good. Throw the book at them.

  4. Judging from an email list I am on, this family is in fact well known and has a long “history.”

  5. avatar monty says:

    It must be difficult to be a BLM employee, who enforces grazing regulations, in a small western town where “cattle is king cotton”. This “salt of the earth” description reminds me of John Gotti, the Philadelphia mafia boss, who was loved by many because he would occasionally give his stolen money to the poor.
    Our species is hellbent on filling and using every niche, no matter how dry and unproductive, so that we can multiply and fill the earth.

  6. avatar Uta Stansburiyana says:

    Hammond has been setting fires and bullying people for decades.
    The indictment is interesting

    Heres an older article about the charming Mr. Hammond.

    • avatar Chris Harbin says:

      I thought environmentalist had exclusive rights to monkeywrenching?! Sounds like a whloe lot of “salt of the earthers” out there. Sad.

  7. avatar Uta Stansburiyana says:

    What!? WHAT does it take to get a BLM grazing permit revoked?

  8. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Here is another story about the Hammonds from 1994:

  9. Ken,

    Thanks for digging this up. It’s good the trial will be in Eugene.

    I see the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was right there to defend them. I say it’s time for the real owners of public land to stand up to threats, violence and arson.

  10. avatar Angela says:

    Talk about a sense of entitlement. A friend and I were headed up the Steens road late one night in the summer of 1984 when there was a wildfire raging. Junipers were going up in flames like candles. There was an eerie light being thrown by the fire and all these porcupines on the road that must have been trying to get away. I would not be surprised if this was one of the Hammond fires.

  11. Assault of the earth types.

  12. avatar Virginia says:

    Good one!


June 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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