The Faulkner Land and Livestock Co. settled a federal lawsuit by paying a portion of the $126,597 originally demanded by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for two prescribed burns that got out of control.
The Gooding company, owned by John Faulkner, conducted two burns: one near Little Canyon Road and Bennett Mountain Road on Sept. 19, 2008, and a second fire near Highway 20, the Pine-Featherville Road and Castle Rock Road on Sept. 15, 2010.
In both instances, high winds allowed the fires to jump fire lines. Crews from the Forest Service and BLM stepped in to extinguish the blazes, which burned a total of 1,025 acres.
In the earlier fire, called the Faulkner Fire, BLM investigators arrived to find Faulkner’s crew still lighting fires in the prescribed burn area after it spread onto adjoining Boise National Forest land. It took firefighters about nine hours to control the fire, which burned about 25 acres.
Two years later, the second fire jumped a 24-foot-wide buffer created by a bulldozer and burned through brush and grass. It then traveled up a 30-degree slope with the flames fanned by the wind.
It took two days to control that fire and suppression efforts required air retardant drops.
In both cases, the Forest Service found that Faulkner’s company was negligent and billed Faulkner Land and Livestock for fire suppression costs incurred by both federal agencies and for land damage.
The lawsuit was filed last September after Faulkner refused to pay the bill.
The settlement, which was announced Wednesday, was reached after U.S. Magistrate Mikel Williams spent five hours last month in mediation with the parties.