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Lawsuit: Colorado railroad ignited fires prior to wildfire

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 19:18:35-04

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A federal lawsuit says nearly 50 fires in Colorado were ignited by a railroad company in the weeks leading up to a major wildfire.

The Durango Herald reported Tuesday that The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad caused the smaller fires along its tracks in the weeks leading up to the 416 Fire.

The U.S. Forest Service has filed a lawsuit seeking $25 million for firefighting costs.

The lawsuit says the company was responsible for starting the fire north of Durango that began June 1, 2018.

Fire investigators and eyewitnesses say a cinder from a train smokestack ignited the blaze during an extreme drought in Southwest Colorado.

Court records say train conductors reported four dozen fires along the tracks.

The railroad denies its coal-fired, steam locomotives started the 416 Fire.

RELATED:

Massive 416 Fire continues to grow north of Durango

U.S. Forest Service says 416 fire is fully contained

Investigation continues into cause of 416 Fire

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Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com