Nearly two years after a prescribed burn led to a devastating wildfire in Washoe Valley, a trial is underway to determine if the fire was an unfortunate accident or a result of negligence. 

"That fire should never have been set and it should have been, after being set, guarded to a significant extent," David Houston, Attorney for the plaintiffs said.

The plaintiffs started calling witnesses to the stand late Wednesday morning. 

In October of 2016, the Nevada Division of Forestry conducted the controlled burn on land owned by the University of Nevada. The fire was intended to clear out overgrown vegetation to prevent future wildland fires, while giving the university a chance to study fire's impact on the ecosystem. 53 plaintiffs are suing NDF and UNR, hoping to recover the value of their lost property. 23 homes and 19 other buildings were destroyed when high winds re-ignited the fire, which spread into Washoe Valley.

"If you had lost everything precious to you that was literally taken from you and burned beyond recognition, all of your memories, everything that meant something, how do you compensate for that?" Houston said. "That's really part of the question that we're going to be answering later."

The two sides selected a panel of eight jurors, Tuesday, along with two alternates. Unlike a criminal trial, which requires 12 jurors to agree, unanimously for a conviction, a civil trial only requires six of the eight jurors to agree in order for the plaintiffs to win. Houston is confident that the jury will see it their way.

"I believe we'll convince the jury as to the negligence in this case within the first two days," Houston said.

The trial is expected to last two weeks. Houston says the state has a immunity clause, which caps the amount of money owed to the homeowners, and that is not enough to make up for the damage.

No matter how much you may have lost, the state comes forward with a bare minimum," Houston said. "It doesn't even cover what you lost, but really it's not fair."

Houston would not disclose how much money the homeowners are seeking.