updated 2/24/2005 10:02:53 AM ET 2005-02-24T15:02:53

A lost hunter who started a forest fire in northern California while trying to keep warm was ordered to pay $18.2 million in restitution Wednesday.

The fire in the Mendocino National Forest burned 6,058 acres and cost $33 million to suppress, authorities said. The restitution covers the U.S. Forest Service’s cost of fighting the fire and restoring the burned area, prosecutors said.

Jason Hoskey, 26, of Willows, lit a campfire when he got lost hunting on Sept. 27, 2003. The fire spread after he fell asleep.

Flames had been banned in the area because of extreme fire danger. Prosecutors said Hoskey also violated the ban by smoking several cigarettes.

Hoskey pleaded no contest in September to a federal misdemeanor of leaving a fire burning or unattended.

Besides the restitution ordered at his sentencing, Hoskey was banned from the Mendocino National Forest for five years.

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