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Watchdog group files suit against U.S. Forest Service

A watchdog group has filed a lawsuit in a Montana court that could change the way the U.S. Forest Service uses fire retardant to battle blazes nationwide.

The Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, based in Eugene, Ore. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont. earlier this week.

The lawsuit challenges the Forest Service’s compliance of a 2005 ruling that set regulations in place for the use of fire retardant.

Dumping fire suppression chemicals above lakes and streams has a detrimental effect on fish, said Andy Stahl, executive director of the group.

He noted the death of 20,000 trout in the Fall River near Bend, Ore.

“The stream was sterilized for miles. It’s nasty stuff,” Stahl said.