This is not the lawn mower he used. But damn, if you’re going
to prison for mowing a lawn this should be the one!

Associated Press – Apr. 27, 2006:

A man who started a major northern California wildfire by mowing his lawn in drought conditions has been sentenced to four years in state prison, authorities said Thursday.

The fire destroyed 80 homes, 30 buildings and scorched nearly 11,000 acres.

William Mathew Rupp, 46, of Jones Valley, sparked the multimillion dollar Bear Fire in August 2004 when he mowed his lawn despite repeated warnings of the danger. A Shasta County jury convicted him in February of arson and unlawfully causing the fire when the mower blade struck a rock and ignited the dry grass.



  1. Aaron Heath says:

    OMFG wot a joke!!

  2. Charlie says:

    What do you mean “OMFG wot a joke!!”? Did you bother to read the entry? People have gone to jail longer for causing less property to be destroyed than he did. I’m not saying that he willingly caused that fire, but if there is a fire danger and there are regulations to prevent it, he should have known better. I used to live in northern california and forest fires are no small thing to to be messing with fire damage regulations. Right now I live in Oklahoma where, up until this last week, we have been going through a serious drought. We’ve had a burn-ban for about nine months now, and fires had been springing up at least every day all over the state (not to the magnitude of california, but homes were still destroyed). Sometimes, cars accidentally swirving off the road would cause grass to ignite and start a hug fire. Crazy stuff. Anyway… my point is that sending someone to jail for 4 years for causing a huge fire that destroys 80 homes, 30 buildings, and nearly 11,000 acres, despite community regulations to prevent this kind of thing from happening, is quite generous. He should have gotten more time just for stupidly putting other people at risk.

  3. ECA says:

    LOVe the pic,
    but this goes to show ALL those people that WANT their crass CUT to a golf course lenth should be shot…

  4. Mr. Old Timer Fusion says:

    Whether an accident or not, the guy deliberately cut his grass while a hazardous condition was in effect. My question is why? If there is a drought, the grass isn’t growing none too quickly.

    Second, where can I suggest mt wife go for a lawn mower like that? I figure with Father’s Day coming, she needs a hint or two about what any good father needs.

  5. Joanne says:

    The story is one of pathetic stupidity. Wonder if the guy was drunk at
    the time. If the grass was dry enough to burn, it couldn’t have grown
    much, and shortening it more would kill it.

    On the other hand, the picture is way cool. I’d have teens from all
    over the county begging to mow the lawn for free. jh

  6. John Wofford says:

    All he had to do was make restitution, write a couple of checks and get on with his grass cutting.
    In my opinion, cutting grass is the biggest waste of time in the world, and my neighbors, what a bunch of freaks, actually water their grass to get it to grow. One of’em even cuts it in the winter, when the damned stuff is dead!

  7. joshua says:

    excuse me John w……..you think he keeps enough for restitution for 80 homes, 30 other buildings and 11,000 acres burned in his regular checking account or will he maybe have to cash in a CD?????

  8. John Wofford says:

    Joke, Joshua, joke; satirical joke Joshua, caustic sarcasm, Joshua…
    But yeah, if he lives in that neiborhood, maybe he does have that kind of money. I’m money poor, so I automatically assume everybody else is rich.

  9. MOCOR says:

    THAT IS THE STUPIDIST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD. PEOPLE ABUSE THEIR CHILDREN, KILLED PEOPLE WHILE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE AND THEY GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST. I AGREE WHAT HE DID WAS WRONG BUT WHY NOT PUNISH OTHERS THE SAME WAY.

  10. kivia says:

    Okay, none of you have any idea what you’re talking about. He was going to be fined if he DIDNT cut the WEEDS (not grass) on his property because they were so tall they were a fire hazard. So stop calling him stupid because he isn’t.

  11. Kevin rupp says:

    Thank you kivia and his fine was going to be $1000. He was not drunk. everyone told him to cut the weeds. He is not stupid and the fire started 3 hours after he had mowed. When he finished mowing he took a shower, watched G.I Jane and waited for the inspector to make sure the weeds were cut. I would know.


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