SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's largest timber company, Sierra Pacific Industries, has agreed to pay nearly $50 million and donate more than 22,000 acres as part of a settlement with federal officials over a 2007 wildfire.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced the settlement Tuesday.
The Moonlight Fire consumed more than 46,000 acres of public land in the Plumas and Lassen National Forests.
Wagner says it was caused by two unsupervised employees who operated bulldozers on a red-flag warning day, indicating high fire danger.
Sierra Pacific denied liability. It said federal prosecutors were unable to prove the company was responsible, but attorneys believed it might be forced to pay anyway.
Gov. Jerry Brown has sought to limit the amount of damages that can be recovered from fires on public land.