Crime & Justice

Teen sentenced to community service after starting wildfire

In file photo, a house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
In file photo, a house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

A judge has ordered a 14-year-old girl to serve 400 hours of community service for causing one of the worst wildfires in San Diego County last year.

The girl was sentenced Wednesday in juvenile court. Her name is not being published because she is a minor.

She was found guilty of multiple felony counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of unlawfully allowing a fire to escape control.

Prosecutors argued during the two-week trial in March that the girl ignited branches in her backyard amid a spate of other wildfires in the county and laughed about it when she told her sister.

Investigators said an ember traveled nearly a half-mile and ignited a fire that destroyed more than three dozen homes.