Property owners and insurers have filed a lawsuit against Nevada officials over a “prescribed burn” event that led to an uncontrollable fire that caused over $80 million in property damage.
The first trial over the fire case begins August 06, 2018, Courtroom View Network reported. A total of 96 plaintiffs are attached to the lawsuit, including property owners affected by the fire and their insurers – such as Farmers, Travelers, Allstate and Liberty Mutual.
On October 04, 2016, the Nevada Division of Forestry began a prescribed fire on Whittell Forest land owned by the University of Nevada, Reno. However, remnants of the blaze managed to spread outside the prescribed area and went out of control on October 17, 2016.
By the time the “Little Valley Fire” was brought under control five days later, it had ravaged 2,291 acres of land, destroyed 23 homes and 17 outbuildings. Reports say that some of the buildings damaged in the fire were of historical importance.
A Reno Gazette-Journal investigation estimated that the damage from the fire could exceed $80 million.
The trial will be presided over by Washoe County Judge Scott Freeman, who had consolidated the numerous individual lawsuits into a single case; it is expected to take two weeks to complete. At least 17 attorneys from various law firms are involved in the case.
The state department that had prescribed the fire will be represented by the Nevada attorney general’s office. Since the incident, the department has denied any liability for the fire – previous court filings from the Division of Forestry claimed that the fire burned out of control entirely by accident, and not due to the negligence of its employees.