Okanogan County electric company ordered to pay $1.1 million for Twisp River Fire
An Okanogan County electric company will pay $1.1 million to the United States as part of a settlement reached for fire suppression efforts during the Twisp River Fire back in 2015.
The United States claimed the fire sparked when a tree branch came in contact with Okanogan County Electric Cooperative’s (OCEC) distribution line.
The company had failed to properly maintain a vegetation management plan, the United States claimed, which led to area overgrowth that in turn prompted the fire.
OCEC denied all allegations.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the fire killed three USFS firefighters and severely injured a fourth. It also burned roughly 11,200 acres through central Washington.
The $1.1 million settlement covers a portion of the United States Forest Service’s costs spent suppressing the fire. The money was part of a larger settlement brought separately by the State of Washington and a USFS firefighter who was badly injured while fighting the flames.
“Nothing can undo the losses suffered by our brave fire fighters and others affected by this – as well as other – wildfires that have plagued our communities in recent years,” said United States Attorney William D. Hyslop.
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