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Landowners Lose Ruling Over Calif. Cedar Fire

(CN) - The Federal Circuit threw out a claim by landowners who lost property in the 2003 California Cedar Fire near San Diego, because they did not allege that the fire was the direct result of Forest Service policies and vegetation management.

The landowners claimed the agency's fire suppression and prevention tactics increased the risk of a fire spreading to their property.

Affirming a federal claims court decision, the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that the landowners "rely on the insufficient general allegation that the risk of damage arose from the buildup of flammable vegetation."

The court also found that the government did not intentionally take the landowners' property with an uncontrolled wildfire that was set by a lost deer hunter.

The 2003 fire was started by a lost deer hunter making a signal fire. It consumed 273,000 acres of land, more than 2,500 residences and buildings and killed 15 people.

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