It’s official, PG&E caused the Camp Fire

May 16, 2019

Cal Fire announced Wednesday that its investigators determined PG&E power lines caused the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. [Cal Coast Times]

The Camp Fire killed 85 people in Northern California and destroyed much of the town of Paradise. The blaze burned 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 structures.

In its announcement, Cal Fire stated electrical transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E in the Pulga area of Butte County caused the blaze. But, Cal Fire also said there was a second ignition point, for which investigators likewise found PG&E responsible.

Early in the morning on Nov. 8, 2018, the Camp Fire ignited near Pulga. The tinder-dry vegetation coupled with strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures caused the blaze to spread rapidly, sweeping east into Pulga and west into Concow, Paradise, Magalia and the outskirts of east Chico, according to Cal Fire.

Investigators determined there was a second ignition site between Concow and Pulga near the intersection of Concow and Rim roads. The second ignition was caused by vegetation coming in contact with electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E, Cal Fire said in a news release. The initial fire consumed the second blaze, investigators determined.

PG&E responded with a statement saying the company accepts Cal Fire’s ruling that its power lines near Pulga caused the Camp Fire, though the utility is unsure about there having been a second ignition point. Faced with billions of dollars in liabilities for involvement in California wildfires, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, and prior to Wednesday’s announcement, the utility had already acknowledged its equipment probably caused the Camp Fire.

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, and we remain focused on supporting them through the recovery and rebuilding process,” PG&E said in a statement released Wednesday. “While we have not been able to review Cal Fire’s report, its determination that PG&E transmission lines near the Pulga area ignited the Camp Fire on the morning of November 8, 2018, is consistent with the company’s previous statements.”

The utility says it is unable to conclude whether a second fire ignited as a result of vegetation coming in contact with its power lines. PG&E says it is fully cooperating with all ongoing investigations related to the Camp Fire.

After making it’s determination, Cal Fire forwarded the report produced by Camp Fire investigators to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Ramsey, in turn, said his office, as well as the California Attorney General’s office, are investigating the Camp Fire. The Cal Fire report will remain confidential until prosecutors decide whether or not to file charges, Ramsey said.

Late last year, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an amicus brief in federal court stating PG&E could face a host of charges, including murder, if the utility is found to have caused deadly wildfires.

Amid its bankruptcy process, PG&E is implementing a Community Wildfire Safety Program that the company say includes real-time monitoring; enhanced vegetation management practices; re-inspections of electrical infrastructure in high fire-threat areas; building a more resilient electric system; and proactively shutting off power due to extreme conditions. Starting this fire season, customers in high-risk areas could experience intentional blackouts as a result of PG&E’s plan to proactively shut off power.

PG&E’s share price dropped slightly Wednesday, closing at $18.06. The company’s stock had recovered to more than $20 recently after plummeting from nearly $50 to below $18 last November and then falling below $10 in January.


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AmericaTheFree

This is the type of thing that will continue to happen as more and more oversights and regulations continue to be rolled back by the Party of Trump The Pervert.


DPINC

HMM .. I owned a 2nd home a mile from Concow and rim road ….I didn’t cook methamphetamine or grow acres of weed .. So I got the heck out of there.But before I sold my home it was robbed of 150k in possessions … i wouldnt put it past most of the residents of that area to have shot with a gun a transformer or line or was trying to illegally tap into a line for pot power etc Also a bird could have landed or dropped its prey on lines I know bear didn’t cause the fire but bears have climbed poles and started fires .. I remember a massive extremely long power lines spanning that area in that gulch ..The lines appeared to be at least a mile or 2 between supports so wind could have played a role ….I couldn’t be paid any amount of money to move back to that area … There was good people but most were just really really bad folks with massive drug. ,alcohol and criminal problems


AmericaTheFree

The report didn’t even suggest any of what you suggest, there was no asterisk to PG&E’s admission of guilt that blamed anyone else. It’s not only fear mongering you’re dolling out, it’s irresponsible baloney, and exactly why this type of crap usually happens and will keep happening. Place the blame exactly where it belongs, on the party that admits to it, the party that the overwhelming evidence shows their incompetence, arrogance and outright criminal neglect was to blame then hold them, and only them, accountable.


DPINC

Wildlife has caused hundereds maybe thousands of fires involving Electric utilities. Even Dogs and cats have caused fires in homes by tipping over heaters or chewing on cords etc. PGE will take the blame because dodging it would do them no good .They are already protected from lawsuits. PGE has always provided me with reliable and affordable power and gas for over half a century in service to my properties.There has been massive numbers of fires caused by humans destroying pole transformers and the pot farmers will get power anyway they can and they overload there systems and PGE power grid .Solar is also to blame with back feeding into PGE grid and poor solar installations also contribute .. There is a lot of possibilities when it comes to Electric Power ….Electricity will always take the easiest path to Ground


nazbol gang

An accident with tragic results


Rambunctious

Are the California legislatures and governors going to escape blame again?…We need a Governor Trump…


AmericaTheFree

He, trump, would not only deny any responsibility, he would find someway to divert the blame to Hillary, and the Party of Trump The Pervert would eat it up like so much rotten candy.


Rambunctious

Yeah you are right…we don’t want to uncover Sacramento corruption and find out where all of our tax dollars go…so we don’t need an outsider….yeah lets keep California a corrupt one party state as we watch thousands of productive people pick up and leave….


Francesca Bolognini

When this country was founded, after a war to escape the control of the corporations of England, our government banned corporations almost entirely. They were only formed for a brief period of time, usually to complete a bridge or road or other civic project and then disbanded, assets divided among shareholders. There were regulations galore regarding everything from the size they could attain, what they could acquire and who could join to how much they were allowed to profit. If a whiff of damage to the public was detected, they were – you guessed it – disbanded, with the assets divided among the shareholders. Those responsible had absolutely no limitation on liability and were highly likely to be prosecuted.


Our founders, who risked everything for a fresh start here, free from the predation of England’s oligarchy upon us would be beyond furious at what we have allowed to evolve in the place of what they originally intended.


I wonder if the upper crust of PG$E are going to suffer one iota of the responsibility for the hell they have created ? I wonder how many fires, over the years, could be attributed to this very cause

and it was covered up? They are certainly making us responsible for cleaning up after the nuclear plant they built on a confluence of 13 fault lines, capable of working in concert to deliver an event well beyond what the plant is designed to withstand and within a tsunami zone that saw 3 or 4 events between 50′ and 100′ in the 1800’s. Don’t believe me? It was in the papers of the day and can be easily researched. Same one that was built (after PG$E informed us that it was the most researched and thoroughly inspected construction history) with a cooling system that was so compromised that it took 3 years to correct and a whistleblower had to point it out, because PG$E was going to run it as it was.


PG$E has an horrendous record of safety violations and pollution, including nuclear, and they never seem to punish anyone in the decision making level for any of it. We, the rate payers, are always the patsies. Why are they allowed such a monopoly (and they use our own money to fight us to keep it that way) when it is so very clear WE ARE GETTING SCREWED?


Rambunctious

excellent post…you are spot on and say it better than I…


Snoid

Im pretty confident our founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they witnessed most of today’s politicians,politics,Godless moral free society and a few other things.


AmericaTheFree

You’re right, they would roll over in their graves! They’d roll over and then throw up if they witnessed this current president…


jimmy_me

Break out your wallets; we’re all going to pay for this one. Let’s increase the bonuses handed out to PGE execs because they are doing such a great job of skirting financial responsibility for the damage they caused.