PG&E Says Its Equipment May Have Started Dixie Fire

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U.S.|The inferior PG&E says its instrumentality whitethorn person led to a 30,000-acre wildfire.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/us/pge-dixie-fire.html

The Dixie Fire burned on  Highway 70 successful  Plumas National Forest, Calif., connected  Friday.
Credit...Noah Berger/Associated Press

Adeel Hassan

  • July 19, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest utility, said connected Sunday that blown fuses connected 1 of its inferior poles whitethorn person sparked a occurrence that has burned done 30,000 acres successful Northern California.

The blaze, known arsenic the Dixie Fire, has dispersed done distant wilderness astir 100 miles northbound of Sacramento, successful an country adjacent to the pain scars of 2018’s devastating Camp Fire, which itself was caused by PG&E instrumentality failures.

The inferior made the disclosure successful a preliminary study filed with the California Public Utilities Commission. Matt Nauman, a PG&E spokesman, said that the study was submitted “in an abundance of caution,” and that the inferior was cooperating with a authorities probe into the fire’s origin.

PG&E has been linked to immoderate of California’s astir destructive and deadliest wildfires. It pleaded blameworthy past twelvemonth to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter successful transportation with the Camp Fire, which destroyed the municipality of Paradise.

In June, the inferior reached a $12 cardinal settlement with 2 Northern California counties aft past year’s Zogg Fire was determined to person been caused by a conifer histrion contacting PG&E transmission lines. The 56,000-acre occurrence killed 4 radical and destroyed much than 200 buildings.

PG&E besides faces transgression charges for its relation successful igniting a 2019 wildfire that burned 120 quadrate miles successful Sonoma County, northbound of San Francisco. That blaze, called the Kincade Fire, damaged oregon destroyed much than 400 buildings and earnestly injured six firefighters.

The inferior emerged from bankruptcy past summer, placing $5.4 cardinal successful currency and 22.19 percent of its banal into a spot for victims of wildfires caused by the utility’s equipment.

In its study connected the imaginable ignition constituent of the Dixie Fire, PG&E said that aboriginal past Tuesday morning, a inferior idiosyncratic spotted what helium thought were blown fuses atop a inferior rod successful a distant area. The idiosyncratic could not instantly scope the pole, it said, “due to the challenging terrain and roadworthy enactment resulting successful a span closure.”

When helium yet got there, astir 10 hours later, helium noticed that a occurrence had started adjacent the basal of a tree.

As of Monday, the Dixie Fire was 15 percent contained, according to the state’s occurrence agency, Cal Fire, and evacuation orders were successful spot for parts of Plumas and Butte Counties, authorities officials said. Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman, said Monday that a afloat probe of the fire’s causes would instrumentality six months to 1 year.

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