On January 2, two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, returned to prison to complete their sentence for setting fire to federal land in 2001, sparking the armed militia and anti-government occupation of a federal compound south of Burns, Oregon. Several of the key figures behind the occupation also participated in the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014 with federal authorities in Nevada.
Militia members early this month illegally seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—a federal compound near Burns, Oregon, about 300 miles south of Portland—to protest the federal government's ownership of the land. Local law enforcement has reported harassment and damage to federal property, but the takeover so far has been largely peaceful. There are an estimated 15-20 individuals occupying the building with an unknown number of militia members outside providing support. A sovereign-citizen group, the National Liberty Alliance (NLA), which has a presence in New Jersey, and some white supremacists have endorsed the takeover.