3 settle suits over prescribed burn that became a wildfire

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Three landowners from northwestern South Dakota who sued the federal government for a 2013 prescribed burn that turned into a wildfire have settled their cases.

The Rapid City Journal reports that settlement agreements were filed for a total of $241,000.

The prescribed burn was lit by the U.S. Forest Service on the Dakota Prairie Grasslands in the Lemmon area, near the border of South Dakota and North Dakota. It was meant to cover 210 acres of federally owned land, but it became a wildfire that burned for several days and destroyed pasture land for cattle.

Affected landowners filed more than $50 million worth of administrative claims that were denied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Landowners then filed multiple lawsuits in 2015, which were eventually consolidated into one case.