Saturday, June 22, 2019

Welfare ranchers get less than $250,000 from Pautre Fire after asking Forest Service for $50M

Cost to We the People for managing the 2013 Pautre Fire was about $1 million. No livestock was lost and there was minimal damage to fences. There were no injuries and the only structure lost was a derelict rural schoolhouse. 3,519 acres of federal and 7,160 acres of private property were cleared of invasive grasses.

The US Forest Service knew an advancing cold front would aid the clearing of foot-high grasses and mowed a fire break instead of using a disk to make a fire line because disturbing soils can allow the infestation of plants that had been introduced by European settlers in the 19th Century. Snow showers ended the fire. A lawsuit claiming $50 million in recompense for the Pautre Fire was not only frivolous, it was reckless in its hypocrisy.
The government agreed to three payments to various ranchers: One for $90,000, one for $81,000 and one for $70,000. As part of its settlement with the ranchers, the government did not admit liability for the wildfire. [Government to pay ranchers for wildfire losses]
After a century of destructive ranching practices invasive grasses still infest northwestern South Dakota but in the aftermath of the fire a Republican US Senator added additional layers of bureaupublicanism to fuel treatments driving the cost of prescribed fires to over $2000 an acre.

1 comment:

  1. 'Attorneys for the government have a pending motion seeking dismissal of the claims by the Grand River Cooperative Grazing Association. The motion contends that the association's grazing agreement with the U.S. Forest Service includes a provision holding the government harmless from all loss, expense, liability or other obligation arising from any accident or other occurrence causing injuries or property damage, whether due directly or indirectly to the use and management of the Forest Service's land." Rapid City Journal


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