Jury Awards $730K to Ranch Family Over Backfires
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A jury awarded $730,000 to a Drummond-area family that sued the state of Montana over backfires set during a 2000 wildfire that burned more than 900 acres of their ranch.
Attorney Quentin Rhoades tells the Missoulian the Granite County jury reached its decision Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Fred and Joan Weaver and their daughter, Vickie Weaver.
Rhoades says the evidence indicated the out-of-state fire crew appeared unaccustomed to working in windy, mountainous terrain.
The Missoulian reports the state’s attorney, Robert Sheridan, was not available for comment on Thursday.
Witnesses reported firefighters set “back fires,” which are intended to use one fire to divert or control another.
The Ryan Creek fire eventually burned more than 27 square miles.