$2.9 million settlement reached for 2012 fire near Jackson, Wyoming

Horsethief Canyon Fire and bike race
Bicycle racers ride past the Horsethief Canyon fire. The fire started September 8, 2012. Photo by David Cernicek

An insurance company and the man who started the Horsethief Canyon Fire south of Jackson, Wyoming have agreed to pay a total of $2.9 million in restitution. The fire started when James G. Anderson Jr., 79, was burning debris in a rusted barrel. Embers that fell through holes in the barrel on September 8, 2012 ignited the fire that burned 3,373 acres.

In November 2013, the U.S. Forest Service sent a bill to Mr. Anderson for $6.3 million to repay costs incurred by the USFS, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the state of Wyoming, and Teton County. The USFS said the suppression costs totaled about $9 million.

The settlement stipulates that Mr. Anderson will be responsible for $425,000. Insurance companies State Farm and Mountain West Farm Bureau will pick up the rest, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Wyoming.

Map of Horsethief Fire
Map of Horsethief Canyon Fire, 8:38 p.m. MT, September 13, 2012. Google/MODIS. (Click to enlarge)

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.