Officials at Carousel Ranch are breathing a sigh of relief after the California Department of Fire and Protection reconsidered it’s demand that the organization pay expenses incurred from the Buckweed Fire.
CalFire sent the nonprofit a letter of intent asking for $2.9 million, which is roughly the cost the state paid to fight the October 2007 blaze.
The request is the states procedure, under the Health and Safety Code, to recover the cost of suppressing a fire from an individual or group who is determined to be negligent or in violation of a law, according to Daniel Berlant spokesperson for CalFire.
The fire, which was started by the 10-year-old son of a worker at the ranch, blackened more than 30,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes.
Carousel Ranch sought the help of Senator George Runner and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth to negotiate with CalFire.
On Monday a CalFire official met with Runner’s Deputy Chief of Staff Will Smith and Smyth’s Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin O’Neill in Sacramento.
During that meeting the representatives were able to show CalFire officials that the link between the fire and the ranch were weak.
“They (CalFire) have a few criteria that they use to determine when they can recover cost, and in some weird, strange way it looked like they could bill Carousel Ranch,” said Runner. “Clearly if you look into the details there was no nexus between the ranch and that fire.”
Carousel Ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides the disabled with an opportunity to take part in therapeutic horseback riding.