MISSOULA - A man who admitted to setting fires on U.S. Forest Service lands was sentenced Thursday to a prison term of eight months.
Jeremy Johannes Hennick, 52, previously pleaded guilty to charges in September of 2022.
Hennick was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay $3,323 restitution, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Prosecutors said in court documents that between 2013 and 2021, more than 40 suspected arson fires were set on state and federal land in Mineral County.
A total of 22 fires were documented and investigated in 2021 alone.
Law enforcement identified Hennick as a suspect after a vehicle he drove was spotted in the area of some of the fires.
According to a news release, one fire was reported on Aug. 1, 2021, at about 5 a.m., near the junction of Mullan Road East and Riverbend Road in Mineral County.
Wildland fire investigators responded and documented the main fire and three additional burned items located more than 30 feet away.
Investigators concluded each burned area represented a separate fire, and that the fires were human-caused and had been set using homemade devices.
US Forest Service agents interviewed Hennick, who admitted he had been setting fires for four to five years, primarily by lighting trash on fire and throwing it out the window of whatever vehicle he was driving.
"Damage was minimal, based in large part on the diligence and resourcefulness of the Forest Service law enforcement officers who investigated the case and the firefighters who responded to the flames," the release states.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided over the sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service.