OLYMPIA — A tort claim for damages was filed Friday against the state Department of Natural Resources seeking compensation for property owners who suffered losses in the Carlton Complex wildfire.

Brewster attorney Alex Thomason filed the claim with the state Department of Enterprise Services on behalf of 65 people. He said he’s interviewed more than 350 people about their fire damages, and expects more people to join the original 65.

The claim alleges the agency prevented local firefighters and U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers from entering department-protected land the day the fires broke out to extinguish them while they were still small.

The Department of Natural Resources did not reply to a Chronicle request for comment.

The lightning-caused Carlton Complex erupted July 14 after a thunderstorm rolled across the county. It began as four fires that later grew together to form one blaze that blackened 256,108 acres and leveled 237 homes, 53 cabins, plus barns, other outbuildings and fences. Livestock were killed, and orchards and other crops damaged.

See The Chronicle’s Sunday edition for the full story.

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