Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2019

Investigators confirm that PG&E power lines started the deadly Camp Fire

Fire authorities have officially determined that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was responsible for last year’s deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, California. In a press release earlier today, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said that “after a very meticulous and thorough investigation, Cal Fire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) located in the Pulga area.”

The Camp Fire started the morning of November 8th. Cal Fire identified two ignition points, both of which were sparked by PG&E power lines. As Cal Fire notes, the fires then spread with the help of warm temperatures, dry vegetation, and strong winds. The Camp Fire would ultimately burn a total of 153,336 acres and kill 85 people — making it the “deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.” PG&E did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

PG&E was already a likely culprit for the blaze. Earlier this year, it admitted it was “probable” that company equipment had sparked the Camp Fire. It’s also been blamed for over 1,500 fires since 2014, and it filed for bankruptcy in January after being sued by several law firms. It’s also — controversially — asked for additional state money to pay for public safety improvements. However, the problem isn’t just faulty equipment from PG&E; it’s the predictable effect of climate change. In 2018, California saw a total of 7,571 fires — and they may only get worse with time.

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Investigators confirm that PG&E power lines started the deadly Camp Fire