“The growing threat of wildfires to communities and businesses is bigger than any one company or industry,” PacifiCorp said in a statement.
Tuesday’s verdict included more than $6 million in economic and $56 million in noneconomic damages, plus additional punitive damages, Nick Rosinia, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said in a statement.
The wildfires in September 2020 killed at least nine people and burned more than five million acres in three states. Exceptionally dry conditions, combined with unusually strong and hot east winds, caused the wildfires to spiral out of control.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that a Portland jury heard three days of testimony from the victims of the fires, which began on Sept. 7, 2020. One man described how he and his wife jumped into a river near their property while the flames enveloped their home. Another survivor, a 101-year-old World War II veteran, said he lost his home and decades of memories, according to Mr. Rosinia.
The next damages trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 26 and will seek compensation for another nine people affected by the fires as well as for Upward Bound Camp, a program for people with special needs that was also destroyed by the flames.