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LDS Church dismissed from fire case

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints won’t be placed on trial next month alongside the Boy Scouts of America.

Several Scouts from Peoa are accused of lighting the East Fork Fire that consumed more than 14,000 acres in the Uinta Mountains in the summer of 2002.

But the LDS Church this month was dismissed as a defendant in the federal lawsuit filed against the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Scouts could be ordered to pay around $13 million in fire suppression costs should a jury find the group guilty at a trial scheduled to begin March 5 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Unsure who is responsible for starting the fire that originated near the East Fork of the Bear River Scout Reservation east of Kamas, U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell ordered the 10-day jury trial to determine whether the Boy Scouts must pay the costs incurred by the government fighting the blaze.

Investigators contend that a group of Scouts from South Summit camping in the area failed to properly extinguish a campfire while 15-year-old camp counselors supervised them in the woods.

The fire was found burning near Bear River Service June 28, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff seeks to recover from the Scouts and LDS Church more than $600,000 in state fire-suppression costs.

State. prosecutors haven’t dismissed the Corporation of the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or the LDS Church’s Peoa Corporation from their case.

But the Office of the Utah Attorney General is in negotiations with each defendant, a prosecutor told The Park Record this week.


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