Trial set for June 12 for Oregon ranchers accused of multiple range fire arson

Alleged arson dating back years finally to go to trial-

Two years ago, an amazing story of a father and son rancher (The Hammonds) said to have started at least eight range fires on public lands near Steens Mountain came to light. Considering the high fines some people get for starting accidental fires on public land, it was suspected the fines would be high and possible prison.

Then after indictment the whole matter disappeared from the public for almost two years.  Internet searches found no further information. Now a superseding indictment has been drawn and trial is set in Pendleton, OR June 12.  The government seeks $600,000 for fighting the fires that “endangered individuals, wildlife, structures, equipment and threatened the public health, interest and safety.” Here is the latest story as told by Bryan Denson in the Oregonian.

Here is the new indictment. United States v. Hammond Ranches






  1. DLB Avatar

    Crimes like this deserve severe punishment. $600k would be a good start.

    You’ll hear countless rationalizations for this type of behavior from bad-rancher apologists, but at the end of the day, people who commit these kinds of crimes are nothing but self-serving punks.

  2. sleepy Avatar

    I am assuming the motive was pure government hatred, but what were they thinking? That the government’s controlled burn plan wasn’t good enough, or just wanton destruction of government property? Not sure why they would burn some of the land they were leasing.

    1. mikarooni Avatar

      In the early years of the 20th century, the federal govt, under Teddy Roosevelt, set up the first forest reserves, the beginning of today’s National Forests. When the residents of New Mexico’s Catron County heard that these forest lands were going to be protected and that cutting, grazing, mining, and general exploitation of the forest lands in Catron County was all going to be regulated and controlled from then on, they burned the forest wholesale, huge malicious fires just to spite anyone, even the US govt, who dared put limits on what they wanted to do or when they wanted to do it. Nothing changed for the miscreant scum; they still think they’re entitled to do anything they please.

    1. sleepy Avatar

      What an interesting website. I enjoyed browsing my local Iowa city and seeing the hundreds of thousands of dollars–and millions–in subsidies received by the local republicans.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Use to be Sleepy, subsidies were a way for taxpayers to help out those who grew the crops & raised the meat for the county or country, when times got tough for them…….. but now?

        Its a fricken joke.

        Way too many wealthy, whether fulltime, parttime (or just your run of the mill land hobbyists with a few hundred acres) in the business of agriculture, KNOW exactly how to milk the system of huge amounts of subsidies.

        And will continue to do so until the average taxpayer starts screaming, loudly, about the waste and the politicians (with well lined pockets from ag lobbyists who promote the waste $$) actually start listening to the screams.

        Oaky, lets weigh it – a politician with counties full of nice subsidies paid out annually verses a politican wanting to make improvements in education/schools, roads, housing etc.


  3. Mike Avatar

    These kinds of crimes should receive life sentences.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    Bought a box of cereal at the local supermarket today because I was impressed with the “organic label”

    Decided to do a little snoping on the internet about the company (says on the box it was founded in Skagit Valley, Wa.) even though the family profile claims the location of the farm is in Oregon AND…while the cereal is distributed by Small Planet Foods in WA, its a product of Canada.

    Here’s the EWG profile on the owners of the farm:

    They’ve taken in a tidy sum of subsidies over the past few years.

    When you try and bring up the name of the farm which is on the label of the cereal, this is what you get with regard to subsidies:


    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      And how much $ did you have to lay out for that little bit of subsidized farm product and a lot of air? Trying to go grain free here, nothing but eggs in the am.

      Nice snoop work Nancy.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        $4 and changes Immer. I rarely buy cereal. With a handful of chickens (and just got a new batch of chicks) fresh eggs are the way to go but I honestly thought from the family photo – Mom, Dad and the two boys, surrounded by an immense field of wheat (or barely) on the box – that I was buying a product manufactured, from start to finish, right there in good ole Oregon 🙂


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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