Yesterday, I was delayed in my trip to Tampa because of the bad accident that occurred as a result of the fire/smoke. Evidently, a controlled burn had gotten out of control and the smoke covered the lanes of traffic resulting in many fatalities and serious injuries. The question many people may have is who is responsible for this incident.
First, the US Forestry Service will typically issue a permit for the landowner to start a controlled fire. Second, the land owner is responsible for for creating firelanes(buffer zones of sand) so the fire will stall when the selected area is completely burned. The landowner then needs to start the burn when the wind is in a constant direction and blowing at a slow velocity. This in theory will stop the spreading a the fire.
I do not know the the facts but clearly the landowner will shoulder most of the blame because something got out of control. The Forestry Service may not have responded quick enough when the flames got out of control. There should have been some attempt to close I-4 before the motorist drove into the black cloud. Finally, it will be interesting to see what steps the Florida Highway Patrol took to avoid this horrible accident.
In conclusion, the landowner who started the fire will bear the most responsibility. There will be many claims and the individuals who file first will have the most success.


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