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Press Release

Lake Railway Pays $1.08 Million in Settlement for Modoc Forest Fires

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California
Gulch and Howard’s Fires burned 840 acres in 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — LRY, LLC d/b/a Lake Railway has paid $1.08 million to settle allegations by the United States relating to a pair of wildfires that burned 840 acres of national forest land, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced today.

The settlement represents a 100 percent recovery of the United States’ suppression costs, plus interest and penalties.

The “Gulch Fire” ignited in Modoc National Forest on July 3, 2014. The fire began along railroad tracks near Howard’s Gulch and swept outward — scorching 791 acres of national forest land. The “Howard’s Fire” ignited along neighboring tracks on May 1, 2014; it burned an additional 49 acres. Investigators attributed both fires to sparks from an improperly maintained engine.

“At a time when the Forest Service is spending more than half of its budget to suppress fires, being able to recover costs is crucial to our ability to restore these burned landscapes to a healthy and resilient condition,” said U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore.

Lake Railway is a rail line that operates in Northern California. Today’s settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the company.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin J. Wolinsky pursued the case.

Updated December 29, 2017