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Some Burning Questions Loom?

On July 26, 2022, the Pendaries Village Community Association filed suit against the federal government in the Court of Federal Claims alleging that the U.S. Forest Service lost control of a prescribed burn which resulted in significant property damage to the community.

Located in the Santa Fe National Forest, north of Hermit’s Peak in New Mexico, Pendaries consists of almost 300 homes, a golf course, resort lodge, golf shop, restaurant, bar, and snack bar. Since the Gallinas Watershed in that area is a known wildfire risk, the U.S. Forest Service plans prescribed burns – which are purposefully set to maintain the forest's health.

On April 6, 2022, Forest Service employees triggered a devastating turn of events, which came to be declared the “Hermit’s Peak and Calf’s Creek Wildfire.”

Pendaries contended that Forest Service personnel failed to take into consideration the weather conditions on the day of the burn. Specifically, an investigation report noted that humidity levels were below the required minimum for initiating the process, wind conditions were not ideal (nor properly anticipated), and, there reportedly weren’t enough suppression resources.

The Hermit’s Peak and Calf’s Creek Wildfire ended up being the most destructive in New Mexico history and continues to have considerable ramifications. Pendaries asserts that this incident damaged millions of dollars’ worth of property, including (but not limited to) the lodge, restaurants, offices, golf course, and water storage tanks.

The complaint seeks a money judgment for “just compensation” under the Constitution, including the fair-market value of all the destroyed property, with interest thereon.

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View a copy of the complaint HERE