News, Wildland Firefighting

Camp Fire: CA Utility Says Its Role in Wildfire Could Create Legal Problems

Wildland Firefighting

Responding to a federal judge’s order, PG&E’s lawyers submitted an extensive series of documents outlining its cooperation with state investigations into the November 8 Camp Fire in Paradise, according to The Sacramento Bee. This includes the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in state history, as well as the series of deadly fires in California’s wine country in October 2017.

The report noted that Cal Fire has already determined that PG&E’s power equipment was responsible for many of the wine country fires, and is investigating whether problems on a transmission tower caused the Camp Fire.

The federal judge overseeing the case involving a 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno recently ordered PG&E to explain whether PG&E’s actions leading up to the wildfires violated any laws and violated the terms of its probation.

The Camp Fire started on November 8, 2018, at 6:29 am. Fueled by intense north winds, a dry air mass, and critically dry fuels, the fire moved rapidly from the Pulga area in the Feather River Canyon into nearby communities including Paradise, Magalia, and Concow, causing extensive and widespread damage to infrastructure and buildings. Critical fire weather conditions spread the fire to more than 100,000 acres in the first two days.

The high winds experienced in the first few days of the incident abated and fire growth slowed, but extremely dry fuels coupled with rugged terrain presented fire crews with challenging conditions. More than 1,000 firefighters from across state and country were assigned to the fire, including resources from Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Contained in late November 2018, the Camp Fire burned more that 150,000 acres and killed at least 85 people, according to IncidWeb. Three firefighters were injured, and nearly 14,000 homes were destroyed with hundreds of others sustaining damage.

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