Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Utah rancher wants compensation for ‘prescribed’ burn

A Summit County rancher is accusing the U.S. Forest Service of negligence in losing control of a 2003 "prescribed" burn that torched his private grazing allotment, setting him back $200,000. While the agency found that the then-Uintah National Forest mishandled the Cascade Springs II burn, the federal government this year decided not to honor Dennis Earl’s claim for damages, according to a suit filed in federal court Friday. The burn targeted 600 acres for treatment on the west side of Deer Creek Reservoir, but Forest Service personnel ignited some ground outside of this zone on the afternoon of Sept. 23, 2003, according to the suit. Winds kicked up, igniting spot fires beyond the containment line and by 5 p.m. the blaze was declared an escaped wildfire. About 250 firefighters spent the next seven days reining in the fire that eventually burned 7,828 acres and filled the skies above the Salt Lake Valley with smoke. The blaze torched about 85 percent of the 2,265 acres Earl leased west of Deer Creek Reservoir from Property Reserve Inc. The rancher submitted his claim in March 2004, after the Forest Service issued a report identifying numerous failures in the planning and implementation of the burn. It took nine years for its parent agency, the Department of Agriculture, to formally deny the claim, saying the fire was not the result of "negligence or wrongful conduct" on the part of the federal government...more  

Nine years to deny a claim.  Let's hope they don't put USDA in charge of Obamacare.

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