Deadly California wildfire caused by PG&E transmission lines

16 Mai, 2019, 02:44 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Deadly California wildfire caused by PG&E transmission lines

The fire started in the early morning hours near the community of Pulga in Butte County.

A major power company is responsible for the deadliest wildfire in California history, an investigation by the state fire agency Cal Fire has found.

Ultimately, 85 people were confirmed dead from the fire.

California fire officials have confirmed that the catastrophic Camp Fire a year ago was caused by power lines operated by Pacific Gas & Electric, which provides electricity to 16 million customers in California and is one of the largest utility companies in the United States. Several firefighters were injured during the response.

A Cal Fire spokeswoman said the investigators' report had been furnished to the Butte County District Attorney's Office for further review. But prosecutors from four affected counties later determined there was no basis to criminally charge the utility in connection with the so-called North Bay fires.

There was no immediate comment from the company about the latest Cal Fire findings.

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California fire officials said Wednesday that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. power lines sparked a Northern California blaze that killed 85 people, making it the deadliest US wildfire in a century.

The investigation also identified a second nearby ignition site involving PG&E's electrical distribution lines that had come into contact with vegetation.

"The tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures promoted this fire and caused extreme rates of spread, rapidly burning into Pulga to the east and west into Concow, Paradise, Magalia and the outskirts of east Chico", Cal Fire said in a news release. That blaze was overrun by the fire originating in Pulga, officials said.

The suit alleges the blaze started when electrical infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by PG&E failed, causing a spark that ignited the blaze.

Newsom and lawmakers are working on proposals related to utility liability for wildfires that could affect the bankruptcy.

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