Three Ochelata people have been arrested on charges stemming from a large grass fire in Osage County in February. A warrant has been issued for a fourth suspect.
Osage County deputies arrested 31-year-old Heather Ann Land and 26-year-old Stephen Alan Land, Friday on charges of third-degree arson and conspiracy as a result of a massive grass fire in the Hughes Ranch area on Feb. 9. Both are free on $2,500 bond.
Joining them Wednesday was 20-year-old Levi Dean Farris of Ochelata on charges of third-degree arson and conspiracy. Farris is being held on $2,500 bond. He remained in custody as of press time Thursday.
A fourth suspect, 25-year-old Ochelata man James Anthony Tonsing Jr., is being sought via an Osage County warrant for similar charges in connection to the fires.
The arrests stem from a Feb. 9 fire near the Hughes Ranch along State Highway 123 between Barnsdall and Bartlesville, an area that also was the subject of a major fire this past weekend. That fire consumed more than 11,000 acres and saw firefighters battling it until the wee hours of the morning.
"These arrests are from the fire on Feb. 9," Osage County Emergency Management Director Jerry Roberts told the Examiner-Enterprise Thursday.
In recent days, some people have confused the arrests as coming from the recent fire — which is not the case, he said.
"With both of them being in the Hughes Ranch area, I think that’s what caused the confusion," he said, adding there is no indication that the recent fire was the result of any foul play.
"We’re still looking into it with the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) … it looks like there had been a fire close to there on Saturday and, when the wind blew up, it re-kindled," Roberts said.