Canadian Railroad Settles Claim Over Minnesota Wildland Fire For $1.25 Million

The Canadian National Railroad Company and its US subsidiary, the Wisconsin Central LTD, have agreed to settle a potential lawsuit with the United States over a wildland fire in 2016. The fire, known as the Skibo Fire, started on May 6, 2016 and burned over 900 acres, 387 of which were in the Superior National Forest.

The fire threatened the City of Hoyt Lakes and cost in excess of $1.5 million to extinguish. An investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the Minnesota State Fire Marshall’s Office, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the East Range Police Department attributed the fire to a railroad locomotive that experienced mechanical failure.

This Affirmative Civil Enforcement unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota brought the claim to the railroad and successfully negotiated a settlement prior to litigation being filed. Here is a link to the press release issued today by United States Attorney Erica MacDonald.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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