Lawsuit Filed Over 22-Thousand Acre Helena Fire

A Mount Shasta tree service and the Trinity PUD are being sued over a 2017 fire. According to the Trinity Journal, lawsuits naming the Trinity Public Utilities District and “A Cut Above Tree Service” have been filed in Shasta County Superior Court almost two years after the Helena Fire in the Junction City area. The fire destroyed 76 homes, plus numerous outbuildings and vehicles. Merging with the Fork Fire, it burned approximately 22,000 acres. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service concluded that the fire was caused by a falling branch from a Gray Pine Tree that lay across PUD distribution lines going through BLM land. There are numerous plaintiffs represented by several different law firms. The complaint says the tree service was hired and retained by the utility district to work on vegetation management on the electrical distribution system. Earlier, the PUD denied multiple legal claims related to the Helena Fire totaling approximately $138 Million. The claims are a required precursor to a lawsuit against a government agency. The district and the plaintiffs had extended the timeframe to sue through a tolling agreement that expired in May. The trial date is set for April 2020.

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