The Nevada Board of Examiners has approved a $25 million settlement with people affected by the Little Valley Fire — a blaze that destroyed 23 homes north of Carson City when a prescribed burn got out of control in October 2016.
The board, which includes Gov. Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, voted Thursday to approve the payout. Of the total, $15 million will be paid by the state’s insurance providers and $10 million will be paid directly by the state through the statutory contingency account and the tort fund.
After a trial in 2018, a jury found that the Nevada Division of Forestry acted with gross negligence and that played a significant role in the damage to the plaintiffs, who include 105 different property owners and insurers. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said at trial that the division did not analyze fuels near the prescribed burn and continued with it when the conditions changed from the burn plan.
During settlement discussions, plaintiffs sought as much as $325 million from the state, but the final agreement brought the amount down to $25 million, including $7 million for the insurers and $18 million for the people affected by the fire. Matthew Sharp, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told KRNV that the amounts distributed directly to victims and the amount going toward attorneys fees is confidential.