Government Blames Union Pacific for 1999 Wildfire

Government Blames Union Pacific for 1999 Wildfire

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The federal government has filed suit blaming Union Pacific Railroad for a 1999 wildfire that burned more than 60 thousand acres in Juab County.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in U-S District Court in Salt Lake City. It seeks more than four (M)million dollars in damages and interest.

Union Pacific denies responsibility for the fire, which started as two separate blazes that eventually merged.

The lawsuit says the fire spread from the Union Pacific right of way to adjacent private and federal land. It alleges that a train cast off hot carbon or another hot material that ignited the blaze.

The railroad could have avoided starting the fire by, among other actions, using state-of-the-art technology for engine and wheel operations, fire or "hot spot" detection and self-contained prevention, the lawsuit claims.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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