updated 4/28/2006 8:43:50 AM ET 2006-04-28T12:43:50

A man who started a major northern California wildfire by mowing his lawn during a drought has been sentenced to four years in state prison.

The fire destroyed 80 homes, 30 buildings and scorched nearly eleven-thousand acres.

William Rupp of Jones Valley sparked the multi-million-dollar Bear Fire in August 2004 when he mowed his lawn despite repeated warnings of the danger.

A Shasta County jury convicted him in February of arson and unlawfully causing the fire when the mower blade struck a rock and ignited the dry grass.

Damage was estimated at $14 million and firefighters spent nearly $10 million extinguishing the fire.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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