Government Money: Kindling 

Start a fire; put it out. Start a fire; put it out. It sounds like a cruel punishment cooked up by a vengeful deity, but to Bureau of Land Management firefighter Levi Miller, it's "fun and easy."

Miller copped to the quote in Idaho's Seventh District Court last week while pleading guilty to charges of felony solicitation of arson. Miller admitted that he tried to pay a teenager in Salmon $100 to start a fire on the outskirts of town in order to help the federally paid firefighters like himself make some money, according to the Idaho Falls Post Register.

Of course, teens being what they are, the offer worked. The resulting fire burned about a half-acre of grass and brush in August before fire crews extinguished it. In a followup call, Miller gave the teen instruction on how to dispose of evidence from the arson. At his November sentencing, Miller could face up to 12-and-a-half years in prison and up to $25,0000 in fines for the solicitation.

In the phone conversation, Miller boasted about starting eight other fires in the Salmon area in 2003. One of the fires, according to court records quoted in the story, was less than 250 yards from Miller's residence and had been started with a stick of incense and some matches.

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