New law means new penalties for Minn. arsonists

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Costly-to-fight wildfires that are intentionally set in Minnesota will soon carry tougher penalties under a new law.

The enhanced arson law was passed in May and goes live on Thursday. It builds off an existing wildfire arson law.

Now, a fire that does damage or poses a threat to five or more buildings, burns 500 acres or more or does significant crop damage can result in a felony charge. It would carry up to 10 years in prison and the potential for a $15,000 fine.

The punishment gets more severe if the number of affected properties climbs above 100 buildings or dwellings or if a fire causes bodily harm.

People convicted under the law could also be subject to greater restitution costs than they were under a prior statute.

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