St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News)  -  The Canadian National Railway and its subsidiary in Wisconsin will pay $1.25 million in damages stemming from a wildfire in northeastern Minnesota four years ago.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota says the payment will settle a lawsuit brought against the railroad companies after the 2016 blaze scorched nearly 1000 acres of land in St. Louis County, including almost 400 acres of national forest land. According to the lawsuit, it cost over $1.5 million to suppress the forest fire, which threatened the city of Hoyt Lakes and forced the evacuation of several homes in nearby Skibo.

The lawsuit had sought to recover damages and alleged the failure of the Canadian National Railway and its subsidiary Wisconsin Central Railroad to maintain their equipment started the fire.

“This settlement goes a long way toward compensating the public for the expense of fighting the fire and the damage to public lands,” said U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively pursue recovery against those whose carelessness damages our precious national resources.”

The news release notes the case was settled before the lawsuit was ever filed and there has been no legal determination of liability for the fire.

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