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CAL FIRE: Transmission lines owned by PG&E caused Camp Fire

CAL FIRE investigators say the deadly 2018 Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E.

85 people were killed, more than 18,000 structures were destroyed, and more than 153,000 acres burned in the fire. It started on the morning of November 8, 2018, in Butte County.

It is the deadliest and most destructive fire in our state’s history.

CAL FIRE investigators announced Wednesday that after a meticulous and thorough investigation, it had determined the cause of the fire.

CAL FIRE says it was electrical transmission lines located in the Pulga area in Butte County, which is where the fire started.

Firefighters say there were red flag conditions at the time, and the tinder-dry brush mixed with strong winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures all led to the fire spreading extremely fast.

Investigators say they also identified a second ignition location. CAL FIRE says the cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation coming into contact with electrical distribution lines, which were also owned and operated by PG&E. Firefighters say this second fire was ultimately consumed by the original fire.

The investigative report was forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney’s office.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, citing its potentially colossal liabilities over deadly California wildfires, including the Camp Fire.

Investigators had previously said they believed PG&E equipment may have played a role in the fire, but Wednesday’s announcement was the first time they definitively said the utility’s equipment was at fault.

Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli is the Executive Producer at KSBY. She graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
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