Federal Prosecutors Sue Riverside County Homeowner Over 2013 Wildfire

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The Mountain fire began July 15, 2013, and burned through more than 27,500 acres. A property owner was sued Thursday for alleged negligence that led to the blaze. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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The federal government Thursday sued a Riverside County homeowner, alleging that his negligent maintenance led to a 27,500-acre wildfire in 2013 that destroyed more than 20 buildings and forced thousands of residents to evacuate.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles contend that an electrical box on Tarek M. Al-Shawaf’s 20-acre property shot sparks, igniting what was dubbed the Mountain fire.

But an attorney representing Al-Shawaf has disputed the government’s claims and said his client was not responsible for starting the inferno.

The blaze broke out on July 15, 2013, near Idyllwild and charred through a large swath of rugged mountains southwest of Palm Springs. More than 3,000 firefighters battled the flames, which forced more than 5,000 residents to evacuate.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com. 

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