Clark Fountain Represents Survivors of Three Family Members Killed by Flood in New Mexico
Attorneys Daniel D. Walker and Mark W. Clark of Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman along with David Houliston of Houliston Law represent survivors of three family members killed by a flash flood in New Mexico, caused by the negligence of the U.S. Forest Service. This preventable tragedy occurred in an area that was destroyed by the two prescribed burns that were started and negligently mismanaged by the U.S. Forest Service. The fire is known collectively as the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.
The flood that took the lives of three family members occurred in an area that was previously devastated by the state’s largest wildfire on record, the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.
The fire was a merger of two prescribed burns in the state which were started by the U.S. Forest Service in order to decrease levels of fuels, thereby minimizing the risk of wildfires.
However, the U.S. Forest Service, failed to follow their own policies and procedures and lost control of the Hermit’s Peak prescribed fire within hours after initiating the burn. The Hermit’s Peak fire later merged with a fire that had been burning underground in the Calf Canyon since it was started by the U.S. Forest Service in January of 2022.
Following its loss of control of the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire, the U.S. Forest Service negligently failed to adequately shore up the land to prevent destruction and loss of life in the area scarred by the fire. It further failed to sufficiently warn people of the potential life threating flash floods caused by the burn scar and failed to evacuate areas susceptible to life threating floods.
In July 2022, as three family members gathered at their cherished generational cabin in New Mexico their lives were suddenly and violently cut short by a raging flash flood. Sadly, these heart-wrenching deaths could have been prevented had it not been for the negligence of the U.S. Forest Service.
Daniel D. Walker, Mark W. Clark, and David Houliston will be filing three wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the surviving family members against the United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims Act. These lawsuits seek to hold the federal government accountable for the drowning deaths caused by the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon burn scars. As the surviving family members continue to mourn their loved ones, the Clark Fountain law firm along with Houliston Law are determined to ensure they are fully and fairly compensated for their losses and that the proper safety protocols are put in place by the U. S. Forest Service to prevent a catastrophe like this from ever happening again.
“Our hearts go out to the families devastated by this disaster, and we are committed to holding the United States Government responsible for all the survivors’ damages caused by the negligence of the U.S. Forest Service,” said Mark W. Clark, founding partner of Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman. “We understand the complexities of these cases and have the expertise and financial resources to ensure that our clients receive the compensation they deserve.”
“It is imperative that accountability exist at all levels of society, including the federal government,” said Daniel D. Walker, attorney at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman. “Our mission is to hold the Federal Government accountable for this preventable tragedy so no other family will suffer the death of a loved one from the mismanagement of a prescribed burn by the U.S. Forest Service.”
For more information on Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman, please visit their website at www.clarkfountain.com.