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Man found guilty for starting Boulder 2700 Fire near Polson

Craig Allen McCrea
Posted at 3:29 PM, Feb 13, 2024

POLSON — A man has been found guilty of starting wildfires — including one that destroyed several homes along Flathead Lake and forced hundreds of families to evacuate in the summer of 2021.

Craig Allen McCrea was convicted last week in Lake County District Court on two counts of arson for the Boulder 2700 Fire near Polson, as well as for the Finley Fire near the Gray Wolf Casino in Missoula County.

McCrea, who is from Ronan, was originally facing four charges for starting the fires that occurred during the summer of 2021.

Court documents show detectives collected more than 100 hours of video footage to identify suspects in the fires and eventually located a local woman through cell phone data.

That data showed her phone was at a remote location where the fires had started. Detectives later interviewed the woman who admitted to being at the scene of each fire with McCrea.

According to court documents, the woman said McCrea would get out of the car and start a fire with a torch. While the woman testified during McCrea's trial, she did not face any charges related to the fires.

“Arson cases are very difficult to prove, but with the help of detectives in the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake County Attorney’s Office, our prosecutors secured a guilty verdict. I’m proud of our team for working to get justice for the Montana families who suffered significant loss as a result of McCrea’s actions.” - Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen

McCrea's sentencing is set for May 3, 2024.