People who lost their homes and property in last summer’s Tamarack Fire in northern Nevada and California have filed a claim against the U.S. Forest Service seeking more than $85 million.
The filing by attorney Bill Jeanney of Reno on behalf of 27 claimants is the first step before filing a lawsuit, according to the Nevada Appeal, which first reported the filing. The U.S. Forest Service can either opt to pay the claim within six months or face a potential lawsuit, Jeanney said.
The Tamarack Fire started on July 4, 2021 when lightning hit a tree in the Mokelumne Wilderness in Alpine County, California. The U.S. Forest Service initially decided to hold off on providing assistance on the Tamarack Fire as it struggled with limited resources and officials perceived the fire as contained to a small area. But soon, the fire spread rapidly, eventually scorching nearly 109 square miles (282 square kilometers) along the Nevada-California border.
The governors of both states said the U.S. Forest Service was hampered by insufficient staffing, forcing officials to make difficult decisions about where to direct resources.
The fire damage was concentrated in Douglas County, Nevada and Alpine County. Authorities from both counties evacuated nearly 2,000 people in 15 communities.
Jeanney did not immediately respond to phone calls from the Associated Press on Thursday. Twelve of the claimants are from Douglas County, while the rest were Alpine County residents, the Appeal reported.