Man Who Started Evergreen Fire Sentenced in Theft Case

Joseph DeVera was accused of stealing two vehicles in August and October

By Justin Franz
Strong afternoon winds pushed fire across a dry field on Aug. 5, 2015 as it destroyed at least two homes and multiple outbuildings in an Evergreen neighborhood. At least three vehicles burned at one residence. While firefighters battled the 6.5-acre blaze from the ground, two helicopters were dropping water from the Flathead River. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The man who started a fire in an Evergreen neighborhood last summer has been sentenced to the state’s Department of Corrections for a separate incident involving car theft.

Joseph DeVera was given a five-year commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections on March 10 in Flathead County District Court.

In August 2015, DeVera dropped a cigarette that started a 6.5-acre grassfire in Evergreen that burned multiple buildings. At least one person was injured trying to escape the blaze. DeVera was later charged with misdemeanor negligent endangerment. Last month, he was sentenced to six months in jail with all but 10 days suspended and credit for time served.

In the months following the fire, DeVera was accused of stealing two vehicles in August and October. In a December plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop one of the felony theft charges in return for a five-year commitment to the Department of Corrections. As part of his commitment, DeVera must complete the Connections Corrections drug treatment program before being eligible for prerelease.