BOISE A 23-year-old Emmett is accused of setting fire to public lands in Gem County in the summer of 2011.

Matthew Williams pleaded not guilty today in federal court to the charge of public land set afire, according to U.S. Wendy J. Olson. He was indicted by a federal grand jury two weeks ago.

According to court documents, Williams is accused of setting fire to lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Aug. 20, 2011. The wildfire burned 315 acres 221 on public land and 94 acres of private land southwest of Emmett on Freezeout Hill along Highway 16.

A trial has been scheduled for April 22.

If convicted, Williams faces up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of probation.

Read or Share this story: