NewsCrime and Courts


Arson suspect in Robertson Draw fire pleads not guilty

lightburn, john.JPG
Posted at 10:27 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 12:27:18-04

RED LODGE — A 55-year-old Bridger man accused of starting the Robertson Draw Fire plead not guilty to charges in court Wednesday, according to officials in Carbon County.

John Lightburn was arrested in connection with two felony charges related to the starting of the fire south of Red Lodge back in June.

According to charging documents filed by Carbon County Prosecutor Alex Nixon, Lightburn was riding his dirt bike on a trail at the base of the mountains the morning of June 13 when the engine began flooding.

The trail and land around it were closed to motorized vehicles, according to prosecutors.

He stopped and tried to repair it and accidentally spilled gasoline all over then allegedly ignited the area while testing his spark plug.

Investigators said Lightburn did not appear to make any effort to put out the fire.

The Robertson Draw fire, Montana's largest wildfire so far in the 2021 season.