More arson charges under consideration for resident who keeps burning slash
Kremmling Fire responded on Tuesday to a report of several slash piles on fire on the property of a man who has been previously cited for arson and repeatedly warned about burning during fire bans.
Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Kremmling Fire and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office responded to 68-year-old Christopher Linsmayer’s home in the Gorewood Estates outside Kremmling where 12 slash piles were allegedly left unattended with four them actively burning.
According to the sheriff’s office, fire crews had to hike into Linsmayer’s property because an engine couldn’t get near the area due to snow. Crews temporarily extinguished the flames using snow, shovels and hand tools. They returned Wednesday to ensure the slash piles were extinguished and no threat remained to the area.
The sheriff’s office says Linsmayer was not on the property when emergency crews responded. However, he is facing 12 counts of fourth degree arson.
“Deputies attempted to contact Mr. Linsmayer via telephone and they were later advised he had already spoken with his attorney regarding the situation,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
In November 2019, Linsmayer was charged with fourth degree arson after an August incident in which he burned a slash pile out of season on a Red Flag warning day.
Ultimately, Linsmayer pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Grand County ordinance regarding burn permits at his sentencing in February. He was sentenced to pay roughly $1,500 in fines and a $1,000 donation to Mountain Family Center.
However, the August incident isn’t the first time Linsmayer’s burning habits have been concerning. His history with lighting fires in the the county goes back to at least 2016, when a 10 acre wildfire known as the Gore Ridge Fire started on Linsmayer’s property and spread to a neighboring property, causing over $100,000 in damage.
An investigation of the Gore Ridge Fire revealed that Linsmayer had been burning three or four slash piles that were larger than allowed by ordinance.
Linsmayer was not cited for the wildfire, but he did agree to pay Grand County roughly $190,000 for fire suppression efforts and restitution to his neighbor, Henry Meier.
According to the sheriff’s office, Linsmayer was also cited for a county ordinance violation on Nov. 1, 2016 and other reports of inappropriate burning were filed on April 7, 2017, and on Sept. 16, 2017, but Linsmayer was not cited.
Linsmayer is also the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.
His attorney, Jack DiCola, said on Thursday that he had not yet seen the police report.
District Attorney Matt Karzen said his office has not yet officially filed charges but is investigating the alleged incident.
“Upon receipt of those materials, we will assess what precise charges are supported by the evidence and any appropriate charges will be formally filed with the court, but clearly, this is a serious problem,” Karzen said.
Linsmayer’s slash piles were burned with the county is under a Stage 2 fire ban and the East Troublesome Fire torching over 192,000 acres in Grand County and Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Granby opened the town’s first ever ArtWalk on Thursday by commemorating the year anniversary of the East Troublesome Fire.