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Judge Rejects Lawsuit Against Timber Company That Sparked NorCal Wildfire

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Moonlight Fire (US Forest Service)

Moonlight Fire (US Forest Service)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — A Plumas County judge has dismissed a state lawsuit against California’s largest timber company for a 2007 wildfire that destroyed more than 100 square miles of forest in Northern California.

State and federal officials have said the Moonlight Fire was caused by two unsupervised Sierra Pacific Industries employees who operated bulldozers on a red-flag warning day with high fire danger.

A judge ruled Friday that the state could not prove that Sierra Pacific was negligent in its hiring or supervision of the employees.

CalFire spokeswoman Janet Upton says the state disagrees with the ruling and is considering an appeal.

The case was set to go to trial Tuesday.

Sierra settled a similar lawsuit with federal prosecutors last summer, agreeing to pay nearly $50 million and donate 22,500 acres of land.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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