SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The State of Oregon has filed lawsuits against people it says were responsible for starting two forest fires.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the state filed one suit against a man who is accused of napping while his campfire sparked a 200-acre Southern Oregon blaze.
In that case, the state is seeking almost $900,000 to cover the costs of extinguishing the July 2014 fire. The suit names Joe Thurmond Askins, his wife and step-daughter.
The state also filed a $3.6 million lawsuit against an Eastern Oregon rancher who investigators say negligently drove a utility vehicle across fields of bone-dry grass – igniting what became a 2,700-acre wildfire in Grant County in August 2014.
According to the second lawsuit, rancher John Lee Habberstad should have known that the exhaust system on his utility vehicle posed a fire hazard.