Deadly fire that leveled Paradise caused by PG&E power lines, investigators conclude

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2019

The Camp Fire started on the morning of November 8, 2018, and burned for more than two weeks.

Named after Camp Creek Road near the first ignition point, the Camp Fire caused at least 85 civilian fatalities and several injuries to firefighters and residents.

The Camp Fire burned from November 8 to full containment on November 25, resulting in 153,336 acres burned, 18,804 structures destroyed, and 85 deaths.

Half a year after the Camp Fire killed 85 people and razed more than 150,000 acres in Northern California, investigators have determined that it was sparked by PG&E-controlled electrical transmission lines in the community of Pulga. "This fire was consumed by the original fire which started earlier near Pulga", Cal Fire said.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion United States from the North Bay and Camp Fires.

Shares of San Francisco-based PG&E initially fell 3.1 percent in after-hours trading following release of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) statement announcing findings of its investigation of the blaze.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson testifies before the state Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee in Sacramento on May 15, 2019.

The investigative report on the cause of the Camp Fire has been forwarded to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

PG&E works on power lines to fix damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. The tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures promoted this fire and caused extreme rates of spread, rapidly burning into Pulga to the east and west into Concow, Paradise, Magalia and the outskirts of east Chico. The company was supposed to present its reorganization plan by the end of May, however, it recently asked for a six-month extension.

The company faces dozens of lawsuits from Camp Fire victims and billions of dollars in potential liabilities.

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