County Commission to Consider Billing Union Pacific for Fires

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GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County Commissioners discussed whether to bill the Union Pacific Railroad for damages and personnel to put out recent fires.

The fires east of Rock Springs were started October 23 by the Union Pacific Railroad cutting track.

The 459-acre Tipton Fire covered 5 miles in a just a couple hours.

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Commissioner Randy Wendling said Union Pacific Railroad was cutting track in 50 mph winds.

“I think we should bill them,” said Commissioner Wally Johnson.

Wendling said that Sweetwater County has never billed the UP in the past, but other counties do. Carbon County bills UP for fires and those bills get paid.

Wendling also said this would be setting a precedent if they do bill. Union Pacific will likely also bill for the loss of power line poles and BLM also had some costs from the fires.

“Until they get a bill, they aren’t going to change their practices,” said Commissioner John Kolb.

The actual bill hasn’t been tabulated, but will be discussed at a future Sweetwater County Commission meeting.