Arizona Supreme Court refuses to hear case about burned structures in Yarnell Hill Fire

Property owners sought compensation from the state for houses that were destroyed.

Yarnell Hill Fire approaching Yarnell, Arizona, June 30, 2013. Photo by Joy Collura.

The Arizona Supreme Court has refused to hear a case in which property owners sought to obtain compensation from the state for the structures that were destroyed in the Yarnell Hill Fire in June, 2013. A lower court had already ruled that the owners had no legal recourse.

According to media reports, Attorney David Abney had hoped to argue that since Arizona state employees told the residents that they would protect the structures, the government was then obligated and had a duty to perform fire suppression activities in a nonnegligent manner.

“If the people of Yarnell had understood the state was going to do this incredibly incompetently, and the state was going to do a late and improper evacuation notice, they could have taken some measures to protect themselves,” Mr. Abney explained.

“They could have gotten their personal possession out, their pets and livestock out,” he continued. “They could have removed propane tanks that blew up in the fire, they could have removed their excess vehicles.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Joy.
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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.