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Court date scheduled for teen accused of starting Gorge blaze

The Columbia River Gorge near Cascade Locks, Ore., is shown Oct. 8, 2017. The photo was taken from a helicopter over a month after the Eagle Creek fire first erupted Sept. 2, 2017. (Mark Graves / Associated Press)
The Columbia River Gorge near Cascade Locks, Ore., is shown Oct. 8, 2017. The photo was taken from a helicopter over a month after the Eagle Creek fire first erupted Sept. 2, 2017. (Mark Graves / Associated Press)
Associated Press

PORTLAND – The teenage boy accused of starting a large wildfire in Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge is scheduled to appear in court next month and enter a plea.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported the hearing at the Hood River County Courthouse is set for Feb. 16.

The early September blaze forced evacuations, caused an extended shutdown of an interstate highway and sent ash raining down on Portland. Many popular trails and landmarks remain closed.

Witnesses had seen the 15-year-old boy from Vancouver, Washington, tossing fireworks into a ravine before the fire began.

He was charged in October with reckless burning, depositing burning materials on forest lands, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering other persons.

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