A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE) investigation determined that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) was responsible for the Dixie Forest Fire last July in northern California.
After “careful and thorough investigation”, CalFIRE determined that the Dixie fire was caused by “a tree in contact with power distribution lines” owned and operated by PG&E west of the Cresta Dam.
The investigation report was forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.
In July, PG&E told California regulators that a blown fuse on its 12kV Bucks Creek 1101 overhead distribution system could have been responsible for the ignition. A PG&E field worker at the initial scene saw the fire grow from one or two acres to about 15 acres. The blaze crossed 963,000 acres in northern California, destroying more than 1,000 buildings.
PG&E equipment has been found to be the cause of many major wildfires that have ravaged California over the past five years.
In December, PG&E agreed to a $ 125 million settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission over the utility’s role in igniting the 2019 Kincade Forest Fire in the northern California wine country. A CalFIRE investigation revealed that the fire was caused by a PG&E transmission line. The blaze burned more than 75,000 acres of land, destroyed 374 structures, damaged 60 buildings and injured four firefighters before it was fully contained two weeks after it started.
The company estimated collective losses at over $ 1 billion for the 2020 Zogg Fire and Kincade Fire, and came out of bankruptcy after a $ 58 billion reorganization plan last year.
“Regardless of today’s conclusion, we will continue to be tenacious in our efforts to stop our equipment fires and to ensure that everyone and everything is always safe,” PG&E said of the CalFIRE survey.