Archive Page - 08/16/13 40 years, 2,169 covers and 54,876 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- It's Another Girl for Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell!
- The Style Top 5: The Best Star Style From the PEOPLE Magazine Awards
- Which Former Boy Band Member Will Compete on The Amazing Race?
- Kim Kardashian Wore Fur-Lined Strappy Stilettos, and Yes, There are Photos
- What's the One Thing Mulaney Star Martin Short Likes to Cook?
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Friday December 19, 2014 10:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 14, 1993
- Vol. 39
- No. 23
Wheel of Misfortune
The State of Idaho Bills a Couple $1 Million for Starting a Forest Fire
The Howards' misadventures began last July as they were tooling along Highway 55 in Idaho. Intrepid RV-ers, they were on their way back home to Lake Ariel, Pa., towing their 1982 Honda Civic behind their 1987 Fleetwood Bounder. Thirty miles north of Boise, Idaho, the car's right-rear lire blew.
Fred drove on, unaware of the blowout—or of the pieces of burning rubber the Honda was spewing onto the dry grass along the highway. Sure, drivers were honking their horns at him and blinking their headlights, but Fred is used to that. "When you're holding up traffic in a big RV," he says, "people honk and blink their lights all the time."
Finally, Fred spotted flames in his rear-view mirror. He pulled over and unhitched the burning Honda. That's when he saw the rising plume of smoke that marked his progress—a fire that would eventually scorch 6.258 acres and take 700 firefighters to control. "I felt bad," says Fred, 67, a retired Air Force quality-control engineer.
He would soon feel much worse. After they returned home, he and Jeanne, 70, received a bill from the slate of Idaho for firefighting services: $1,013,500.10. "We were stunned," says Jeanne. "The only part we can afford is the 10 cents."
Idaho, for its part, is dead serious about trying to collect from the Howards, who live on Fred's $1,700-a-month pension plus Social Security. A civil trial is set for October. "It's state law to bill people we know are responsible for forest fires," says Winston Wiggins, an official of the state Department of Lands. Wiggins did concede that if a fire is started by, say, lightning, "we certainly wouldn't send a bill to God."
For mere mortals who plan to visit Idaho, though, the lessons are clear. Only you can prevent forest fires. And only you can be billed for them.
December 19, 2014
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!