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Aug 30, 2013 9:09 AM by AP

Brothers charged with setting fires on refuge

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Two brothers, who are also firefighters, have been charged with deliberately setting fires on a national wildlife refuge.

U.S. Attorney Dana Boente says a one-count bill of information Wednesday accused 34-year-old Ryan Burlett and 39-year-old Damien Burlett, both of New Orleans, after a state pilot on aerial patrol over Slidell spotted a column of smoke emanating from the refuge Feb. 9, 2012, and saw two men in a small boat speed away.

The pilot also saw the men start two more fires on marsh patches before docking the boat in the Venetian Isle subdivision. The pilot turned over his information to agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and they confirmed the men's identities.

If convicted, each faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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