Two Oklahoma contracting companies have settled claims over a fire at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma, reports News 9 Oklahoma.
The companies will pay out nearly $1.4 million to settle the state lawsuits, according to acting US Attorney Mark Yancey. Bell Contracting Inc. and Redlands Contracting LLC are allegations to have negligently caused the 2011 blaze. The massive wildfire burned more than 40 square miles of the wildlife refuge’s land.
The two companies admitted no liability.
In 2011, Bell had a contract with the Department of Transportation for a road improvement project. Bell then subcontracted with Redlands for the work. Prosecutors allege that Redlands employees were working on the project during a burn ban, when sparks from a chop saw ignited the fire.