A fire attack helicopter makes a retardant drop during a firing operation

(David Royal/The Monterey County Herald via AP, File)

Report Rips Costly Decisions In California Wildfire Fight

December 15, 2018 - 12:45 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A new report criticizes decisions made to stop a 2016 fire in California's Big Sur area that became the costliest wildfire fight in U.S. history.

The report released this month by a firefighting group says the U.S. Forest Service spent tens of millions of dollars to fight a fire long after it burned into wilderness and posed little threat to lives or homes.

It cost $262 million to fight the Soberanes Fire that destroyed 57 homes. A bulldozer operator was killed fighting the fire.

The fire burned for nearly three months until October and charred 206 square miles (534 square kilometers).

The report by the Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology says the fire was an example of "excessive, unaccountable, budget busting" efforts to suppress fire at all costs.

The Forest Service says it is committed to reducing costs of fighting big fires.

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