Forestry officials say a potential multi-million dollar claim against a Douglas County resident believed to have accidentally started the Stouts Creek fire is still under consideration. While no one expects to collect anything close to the cost of the fire — currently estimated at more than $36 million — the state will pursue damages in cases involving negligence or criminal conduct, reports mailtribune.com.
Kyle Reed, a fire prevention specialist for the Douglas Forest Protective Association, says fire officials were able to determine the suspected fire starter, who they have declined to identify, was using a lawnmower in violation of fire season equipment restrictions when the fire began July 30.
“The cutoff time (for using the mower) was 1 a.m. and the fire started at 1 p.m.,” Reed says.
The fire, burning south of the community of Milo off the Tiller Trail Highway, has consumed more than 26,000 acres and, along with several other wildlands fires in the region, sent clouds of smoke billowing into the Rogue Valley.
Reed says any fire costs billed will ultimately be decided by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire cost recovery office.
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