Trump pardons ranchers whose case sparked land debate

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A father and son convicted of intentionally setting fires on public land in Oregon and pardoned by President Donald Trump are seen as rugged individualists to some and dangerous arsonists to others.

The sentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond to mandatory five-year-minimum terms became a rallying cry for those who oppose federal control of public lands.

Others said they committed serious crimes and worried that the pardons might prompt other actions involving public lands.

Their case led other ranchers to launch an armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon for 41 days in 2016.

The Hammonds were released Tuesday.