Yarnell Fire Homeowner Lawsuits Dismissed

State not responsible for damaged property

Apr 30, 2015
Outside Magazine
Yarnell Fire Homeowner Lawsuits Dismissed

The Yarnell Hill Fire started on June 28, 2013.    Wikimedia Commons

A county judge has thrown out two lawsuits filed by homeowners whose houses were destroyed in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire. The plaintiffs argued that Arizona and its Forestry Division failed to use ground and air resources to control the fire, according to the AP.

Maricopa County Superior Court judge Richard Gama issued is opinion on Wednesday, according to the Arizona Republic. “Public policy does not support imposition of a duty on the state to protect plaintiffs’ property from wildfires,” he wrote in his dismissal.

Craig Knapp, the attorney for the homeowners, told the Republic that the ruling is bad news for property owners in fire zones. “The state can now abandon a fire and let the homes go up in smoke with no real legal remedy for the residents,” he said. Knapp also filed a notice of appeal after Gama’s ruling.

The Yarnell fire destroyed 127 homes in June 2013 and caused an estimated $17 million in property damage. It also took the lives of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

*This story has been revised from the version first published on April 30, 2015, because it inadvertently used similar language to what was published in ABC15.com and AZCentral.com. Outside apologizes for the error and is investigating all previous work of the writer.


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