A former seasonal firefighter who acknowledged that he deliberately sparked dozens of wildfires five years ago has been sentenced to 60 years in prison with 25 suspended for starting another blaze in 2016.
Helena resident James Frederick Maw was sentenced on Monday. Maw lit 20 fires in 2013 in Montana, causing nearly $1 million in damage.
He was arrested in the York-Nelson area in full firefighting gear holding a trigger-operated lighter. He initially said he was a contract firefighter but later said he started the fires because he enjoyed the camaraderie of firefighting and needed the financial payoff. He received a 40-year suspended sentence for the 2013 offenses.
While on probation, he was arrested in April 2016 for lighting a fire on a ranch where he worked.
Maw will be eligible for parole in eight years.