Pacific Gas & Electric admitted in recently filed documents that their equipment may have started yet another California wildfire.
In Monday documents filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E reported that a worker responding to a circuit outage at 7 a.m. on July 13 noticed blown fuses in a conductor on top of a pole, a tree leaning into the conductor, and a fire at the base of the tree. The ensuing Dixie fire in Feather River Canyon has burned 30,074 acres and is 15% contained.
The report, posted to the PG&E website, says that due to “challenging terrain and road work resulting in a bridge closure,” the worker could not reach the pole with the blown fuse until around 4:40 p.m. that day.
When the troubleman arrived, he observed “a fire on the ground near the base of the tree,” as well as “two of three fuses blown and what appeared to him to be a healthy green tree leaning into the Bucks Creek 1101 12 kV conductor, which was still intact and suspended on the poles,” the report says.
The utility worker called his supervisor, who in turn called 911. -Sacramento Bee
This is hardly the first time PG&E equipment has been linked to major wildfires - including the 2018 'Camp' fire that killed 85 people in the town of Paradise - the deadliest wildfire in California's recorded history.
PG&E equipment was also linked to the deadly 2020 Zogg Fire in Shasta County, as well as the 2019 Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.
Approximately 800 structures remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, according to Cal Fire.