An article in the Cortez Journal stated that the 416 Fire which started in June of 2018 was started by sparks from the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge train.
The next month of 2018, the Plateau Fire in Dolores County was reported as a single-tree lighting strike. Instead of fighting the fire to extinguish or contain it, six days later, the Forest Service was seen dropping incendiary devices out of a helicopter to purposely spread the fire.
The Plateau Fire ended up burning 10,000 to 12,000 acres. The extremely hot and dry conditions added to the damage that ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
Recently, the House Creek Fire was started as a “controlled burn” during very hot and dry condition. The fire was started to burn “underbrush” in the area. But because of conditions, thousands of 60- to 80-foot Ponderosa Pines, 100 to 200 years old, have burned in an area covering 2,500 to 3,000 acres.
My question: Is a forest fire different if it was accidentally set by the train or intentionally set by the Forest Service?
Is the cost different, is the damage different?
In the Journal article, U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn stated, “Protecting our public lands is one of the most important things we do in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
My thought is there needs to be an investigation on the Plateau and House Creek fires and charges need to be filed against the person in charge of those fires, costing the taxpayers millions.
I believe the U.S. Attorney’s office owes it to the public to bring action on their behalf.