$37,000 restitution demanded for July wildfire near Manson

A July 6 brushfire fire near Upper Joe Creek Road and Grade Creek Road outside Manson. (NCWLIFE photo)

WENATCHEE — An 18-year-old Everett man will be asked to pay more than $37,000 for starting a 14-acre brushfire in Chelan County last summer.

Prosecutors charged Michael Petrovich Popov with arson in the July 6 fire on Upper Joe Creek Road near Manson, sparked by fireworks that Popov admitted using to blow up a rural mailbox. He’s expected to plead to a lesser charge of reckless burning Wednesday under a plea agreement in Chelan County Superior Court.

Court records show he’ll be asked to reimburse almost $21,000 to Chelan County Fire District 5, and more than $16,000 to the state Department of Natural Resources for their expenses in fighting the fire. The restitution totals $37,218.90.

Witnesses near Upper Joe Creek Road and Grade Creek Road heard a boom just before the fire, and Chelan County sheriff’s deputies found Popov driving a black Volkswagen similar to one bystanders described. Popov allegedly admitted inserting three “mortars” into a roadside mailbox at the base of the hill, which sparked the nearby grass and brush.

It took about four hours to contain the hillside blaze, using helicopters and other resources.