April 2, 2024
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SCE agrees to $80M payout over Thomas Fire lawsuit


Southern California Edison will be paying the United States $80 million on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service to recoup costs and damages associated with the 2017 Thomas Fire in the Los Padres National Forest that affected both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The settlement was finalized on Feb. 23 and announced by the U.S. Justice Department on Feb. 26. According to a press release, it is the largest wildfire cost recovery settlement by the United States in the Central District of California.

The Thomas Fire burned more than 280,000 acres — approximately 440 square miles — including over 150,000 acres of National Forest System lands in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, according to the release.

At least two people died from the fire itself while another 21 died from the ensuing Montecito Mudslides due to the fire. It is estimated that the entire disaster caused more than $2 billion in damages across the Central Coast.

The Thomas Fire ignited in two locations on the evening of December 4, 2017. The first ignition was in Anlauf Canyon north of the City of Santa Paula. T

The second ignition occurred at the top of Koenigstein Road in Upper Ojai. The two fires joined and came to be known as the Thomas Fire.

In 2020, the United States filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Forest Service against SCE to recover costs incurred fighting the Thomas Fire and for the extensive damages that it caused to the Los Padres National Forest.

email: jmercado@pacbiztimes.com