California Gadget PG&E Fault in Dixie Fire Exploration, Second Largest in State History

During the investigation into the devastating Dixie fire last summer, California fire investigators blamed the PG&E utility, taking the matter to local prosecutors.

The fire, which began on July 13, has burned nearly 1 million acres, destroyed 1,329 structures, and damaged 95 more homes.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, announced Tuesday that investigators determined the fire was caused by an electrical distribution line owned and operated by PG&E that came into contact with a trees west of Cresta Dam in the northern part of the state. .

In its statement, Cal Fire said it has forwarded its investigative report to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office. The department referred questions to the prosecutor’s office, which had no comment Tuesday night.

PG&E did not respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday night.

Greenville Ruins from Dixie Fire
California state investigators on Tuesday determined that utility company PG&E was at fault in the massive Dixie Fire, which burned nearly 1 million acres and forced many towns to evacuate.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Over the course of the summer, the Dixie Fire has grown into the second-largest wildfire in California, spreading to five north-central counties in the state. The size of the blaze is roughly the same as the August 2020 Complex fire, which is the state’s largest fire at 1.3 million acres.

The Dixie Fire razed several mountain towns in Sierra Nevada counties, including Greenville and Grizzly Flats, before officials finally declared it fully under control in October with the arrival of the winter storms.

PG&E is an investor-owned utility that serves approximately 16 million people in a 70,000 square mile business area, according to its website. Cal Fire’s determination isn’t the first time PG&E has come under scrutiny for its role in the wildfires.

In November, PG&E settled with state regulators the 120-acre Kincade Fire in 2019 due to its transmission equipment being shut down but still having its energy disrupted and burned. nearby plants. The company has agreed to pay $40 million to the state’s general fund and another $85 million to remove transmission equipment that was abandoned due to the failure.

In September, the utility was charged by the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office with manslaughter in the Zogg Fire that killed four people and burned down nearly 200 homes near Redding in 2020.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the 2018 Camp Fire, which was triggered by its device and completely burned down the town of Paradise.

Over the summer, PG&E said it will bury 10%, or 10,000 miles, of its power lines at a cost of $15 billion to $30 billion to prevent wildfires. California Gadget PG&E Fault in Dixie Fire Exploration, Second Largest in State History

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