Israeli backpacker escapes jail over Chile forest fire

By Jennifer Lipman, February 10, 2012

An Israeli backpacker has accepted a deal to pay £6,300 compensation to a Chilean environmental group after he was arrested for causing a devastating forest fire.

The money will be used to fund the purchase of 50,000 trees for the Chilean forestry agency to plant.

Rotem Singer, 23, was arrested at the start of January in connection with a forest fire at the Torres de Paine National Park, in southern Chile. The blaze caused severe damage to wildlife in the area.

Mr Singer was alleged to have accidentally started the fire by failing to extinguish a burning roll of toilet paper.

The charges could have meant a 60 day jail sentence, but Chilean prosecutors opted not to seek a conviction and ask for the money instead.

His mother said Mr Singer would not be returning straight home but planned to continue with his travels.

Last updated: 3:17pm, February 10 2012