“Striking testimony” in Oregon ranchers’ trial for rangeland arson

Trial of the accused Hammond family arsonists is now underway in Pendleton, Oregon

We have been following this amazing story since it broke two years ago. On the first day of the Pendelton, Oregon trial, young Dusty Hammond told the court how his uncle Steve Hammond had passed out boxes of Diamond (wooden) matches during his first deer hunt and told them to “light the whole countryside on fire.”  This was on U.S. Bureau of Land Management public land back in 2001.

The resulting fire almost incinerated Dusty Hammond who was then only 13. He narrowly escaped. Dusty is a witness against his uncle Steve Hammond and his father, Dwight L. Hammond Jr..

The government said they spent $600,000 fighting fires the Hammonds set.  Defense argued that most of the fires were set by lightning.

Here are the details. Hammond Witness Describes Setting Fire In 2001.  By Joseph Ditzler. OPB News.
Associated Press story. Trial opens for Oregon ranchers accused of setting fires on federal grazing land.



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  1. bret Avatar


    A Pendleton, Ore., jury has convicted two ranchers of arson on federal lands.

    The jury June 21 convicted Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr., 70, and his son Steven Dwight Hammond, 43, of setting fire to Bureau of Land Management land that they leased for their cattle operation, according to the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s office.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Thank you bret. We have put up this story now.


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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Ralph Maughan