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Ranchers sue utility over alleged role in California fire

VENTURA, California. – Farmers who lost cattle and goods during the California of the largest ever wildfire is called a tool on Thursday for allegedly not maintaining obsolete equipment, and to manage vegetation, in areas where the fire was fueled.

The court cases in Ventura County claim Southern California Edison does not mitigate the significant risk of forest fires stemming from its obsolete equipment.

The plaintiffs are Aubrey and Kim Sloan, who lost more than 50 cattle and thousands of acres of land for the fire ripped through their ranch northwest of Los Angeles.

The Thomas fire covered more than 440 square kilometres (1,140 sq. kilometers) and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.

A separate suit filed last month by nearly 300 residents, farmers and entrepreneurs also accuses SCE of negligence that led to the fire and the subsequent mudslides.

The results of a multidisciplinary investigation into the cause of the December fire have not been released.

“The Thomas brand has obviously had an impact on many people, but the origin and the cause of the fire to be further investigated, and no report has been issued,” SCE spokesman David Song said in a statement. “These and other lawsuits are not based on findings related to an investigation. Therefore, it would be premature for SCE to respond to the origin or the cause of the recent forest fires.”

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