Criminal charges filed against man who sparked Bryceville wildfire

2 homes destroyed, more damaged by 700-acre Nassau County wildfire


BRYCEVILLE, Fla. – A 55-year-old man accused of sparking a 700-acre wildfire by burning books in Nassau County is now facing criminal charges.

An investigation by the Florida Department of Agriculture ended with Brian Sparks being charged with reckless land burning and failure to obtain a burn permit. Both are misdemeanors.

He was given a notice to appear, and was not arrested.

IMAGES: Bryceville wildfire investigation leads to charges

The fire in Bryceville blew out of control and consumed 700 acres of Nassau County woods, destroyed two homes and damaged more than a dozen other structures.

The Florida Forestry Service said Sparks was burning boxes of books when the fire got away from him. He had already been cited in the case and will be billed for the costs of fighting the fire.

Paul Megois, who lost his home in the fire, told News4Jax on Tuesday that he "bears no ill will" toward Sparks. Megois said everyone in that rural part of Nassau County does burns but that Sparks' judgment might have been lacking that day, considering the severely dry conditions.

Megois said he is living with his brother, waiting for guidance from his insurance company before he decides whether he will rebuild or sell his property.

According to the investigative report, Sparks admitted to burning items from a garage on his property.

"Sparks stated that the fire escaped his control and he attempted to put the fire out but was unsuccessful," the report said.