Did a PG&E Power Line Spark the Second-Largest Fire in California History? – Mother Jones – Mother Jones

Hearthfighters shut to Prattville in Plumas County, California in late July.Noah Berger/AP



Hearthfighters shut to Prattville in Plumas County, California in late July.Noah Berger/AP

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On Sunday, the Dixie Hearth, A 3-week-previous blaze that has ravaged Greater than 463,000 acres And compelled hundreds Of people from their homes, turned the second-largest fire in California historic previous. Eight people have been reported lacking So far, and the mountain metropolis of Greenville has been principally destroyed.

Now, a federal decide Desires to know whether or not Pacific Gasoline and Electrical Agency (PG&E), the state’s largest utility company, performed A process in starting The hearth.

On late Friday Evening time, US District Judge William Alsup, who oversees PG&E’s probation for its position Inside the San Bruno gas explosion in 2010, ordered the utility To current inspection information on a tree that fell on An affect line the place the Dixie Hearth started. He additionally requested the utility to disshut Details about vegetation and gear Inside The world. “PG&E’s responses Will not be deemed as an admission by PG&E that it set offed any fire, however They will Carry out A spot To start for dialogue,” Alsup wrote.

PG&E, which was Aware of the decide’s order, has indicated in electric incident reviews filed to the California Public Utilities Fee that its gear might have sparked the Dixie Hearth, although no official set off has been decided. The utility company introduced It’d bury 10,000 miles of power strains Inside The approaching yrs in extreme-hazard fire spaces. 

Between 2014 and 2017 alone, PG&E disshutd that its gear had set offed Greater than 1,500 wildfires. The company has been linked To 5 of In all probability the most damaging fires in California’s historic previous, collectively with In all probability the Most dangerous, the Camp Hearth, which state investigators concluded was Launched on by “electrical transmission strains owned and operated by Pacific Gasoline and Electricality (PG&E) located Inside the Pulga space.”

The unfprevious of the Dixie Hearth, which is So far 21 % contained, recurrents an ominous chapter Inside the wildfires engulfing America. Presently, 107 fires are lively throughout 15 states, predominantly throughout the West, the place extreme warmth and drought have created circumstances for wideunfprevious fires Which have blanketed the air with poisonous smoke.

Seven of California’s largest wildfires have occurred since 2018—six Inside the final yr. The Dixie Hearth, which has already consumed a mass of land The measurement of NY metropolis, Is method from In all probability the Most dangerous: The Camp Hearth of 2018, Launched on by PG&E’s electrical strains, killed 86 people and destroyed Greater than 18,000 buildings, decimating the metropolis of Paradise—which is shut to the place the Dixie Hearth started.