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On June 17, 2002 Federal authorities arrested a United States Forest Service employee for starting the largest fire in Colorado’s history.


Terry Barton was a 38-year-old woman and had worked every summer for the Forest Service for 18 or 19 years.


She had ventured into the forest to burn a letter form her estranged husband.


She had evidently become angry with him and burning the note was perhaps her emotional release.


Yet, because of dry conditions in the Pike National Forest, she was unable to extinguish the fire as quickly as she had desired and the fire burned out of control.


At the time the fire began, Barton was under orders to patrol for fires in the vicinity where she had started the fire.


This fire that was to be the largest in the state’s history burning over 130 homes with an estimated total cost of damage ranging anywhere from $27 million to almost $40 million dollars.


In this strange juxtaposition of events, Terry Barton who was to prevent fires in the Colorado forest had now begun a fire.


The irony of the one who protects instead causing destruction cannot be lost on ministers.

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