Burning question comes to court
The tragedy that started with a controlled burn on May 20, 2012, continues to smolder in Douglas County’s courts.
Like the wildfire that claimed two homes and 17 other structures in Topaz Ranch Estates a couple of days later, the litigation spread to the East Fork Fire District.
On Tuesday afternoon, District Judge Tod Young dismissed a third-party action against the district, saying that state law’s pretty clear in these matters.
The case might still spread to the Nevada Supreme Court.
The district wasn’t a party to the original lawsuit, in which an insurance company sought $241,000 from the owner of the property where the controlled burn started.
The owner’s son admitted in court in 2013 that he failed to properly extinguish the fire.
At issue on Tuesday was the fate of backyard burning in East Fork at minimum and in Nevada in general.
An attorney for the district argued that if the lawsuit had been allowed to go forward against East Fork, it could have meant the end of backyard burning.
There are few activities that require everyday people to take on such responsibility as a controlled burn.
Given the amount of burning that takes place in the course of a year, it’s kind of a surprise there isn’t more damage done.
Burning is an important tool for East Fork residents, most of whom follow the rules.
Losing that due to one instance, no matter how large, would be a shame.