Washington DNR blames Avista for Ferry County wildfire

Washington DNR blames Avista for Ferry County wildfire
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The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has filed a lawsuit against the Avista Corporation, claiming an oversight by the utility company caused the 2018 Boyds Fire in Ferry County.

The complaint was filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Assistant Attorney General Paul James on behalf of DNR.

According to their complaint, the Boyds Fire was caused by a hazardous dead ponderosa pine tree that collapsed onto electrical lines owned, maintained and operated by Avista.

DNR claims Avista negligently failed to identify and remove the tree prior to its collapse. The complaint notes that Avista either knew or should have known the condition of the tree and the hazard it posed to their power lines.

“Avista knew or should have known that failure to properly monitor its overhead electrical lines for hazard trees, including dead trees that were well within striking distance of its electrical lines, and failure to promptly remove such hazard trees would cause a devastating wildfire,” the complaint reads.

The Boyds fire burned over 4,700 acres, three homes and several other buildings.

Though it does not state an exact amount, the complaint seeks to recover fire suppression costs and indicates that number would be determined at trial. The suit also seeks reimbursement for DNR’s litigation costs.

A Senior Communications Manager for Avista said the company has not yet been served with or seen the lawsuit, but will provide comment once they have had the time to review it.