U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects $88,000 for Costs of Suppressing Two Escaped Prescribed Burns
BOISE — U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that her office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit has settled a lawsuit for fire suppression costs against John Faulkner and Faulkner Land and Livestock Company. The office collected $88,000. The case involved two fires: the “Faulkner” fire in September, 2008 and the “Castlerock” fire in September, 2010. Both fires started when prescribed burns on Faulkner land near Gooding, Idaho escaped to federal land on a windy afternoon. Idaho burn permits require permit-holders to provide adequate containment equipment and personnel to contain private burns. The permits also require citizens to refrain from burning in windy conditions. Crews from the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service provided a ground and air attack to suppress the fires in dry and steep terrain.
The United States owns, manages, and administers various parcels of public lands through the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service. Both agencies suppress uncontrolled wildfires within their jurisdiction pursuant to mutual aid and cooperative agreements. The money collected will reimburse the agencies for funds expended.
“Tactics, communication and human safety are of the utmost importance in order to prevent putting firefighters and private citizens in harm’s way,” said Olson. “We are pleased that our agencies can work cooperatively with efficiency. We are also pleased to be able to recover more than $88,000 for future fire suppression efforts,” Olson added. “We will continue to make strong efforts to ensure that in appropriate cases private parties who cause fires reimburse the taxpayers for putting out fires that burn or threaten federally managed land.”