SANTA FE, N.M. — Two northern New Mexico pueblos are suing Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative and the U.S. Forest Service for negligence, holding them responsible for the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, which burned more than 150,000 acres.
In separate lawsuits filed this week in district court in Sandoval County, Cochiti and Jemez pueblos allege that Jemez Mountains Electric Co-op failed “to take reasonable precautions to prevent and suppress forest fires.”
Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides power to most of New Mexico’s electric cooperatives, is also named as a defendant, along with up to 50 unnamed employees of Jemez Mountains Electric or Tri-State.
In addition, the pueblos, along with four individuals and a realty company that jointly own a ranch near where the fire started, filed federal tort claims against the Forest Service seeking $85 million in damages.
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