The California Department of Forest and Fire Protection clarified that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s (NYSE:PCG) power transmission lines were responsible for sparking a wildfire in Sonoma County wine country in 2019. The fire destroyed several homes and property, leading to over 100,000 people to flee.
PG&E lines caused Sanoma fire
On Thursday, California officials said that the transmissions line northeast of Geyserville sparked the Kincade Fire in October last year, which charred through Sanoma County. The power line that started the fire carried 230KV, which is the largest in the utility’s grid. This was even after the utility company cut off power to millions of people in the area to minimize the risk of sparking fires. The agency stated that strong winds and tinder-dry bush combined with low humidity and warm temperatures helped spread the fire quickly.
The fire that started on October 23 burnt through 77,800 acres of land and destroyed around 374 structures that included 174 homes. Fortunately, there were no fatalities from the fire, and the agency has indicated that it has submitted the investigative report to the County District Attorney’s Office.
PG&E incurred $600 million in losses associated with fires
Last year the utility had indicated that the power lines might have been the cause of the wildfires. As a result, the company said that it will incur $600 million liability-associated losses if investigators established that the lines caused the fire. The company reiterated that they want to communities and customers to know that safety is one of their core responsibilities. Equally, PG&E has been working in ensuring that they minimize the risk of wildfires in its service area.
Earlier this month, the San Francisco based company emerged from bankruptcy protection that it had sought at the beginning of last year. This was due to the financial fallout related to wildfires that destroyed over 27,000 homes and property in 2017 and 2018. Last month the utility pleaded guilty for involuntary manslaughter to 84 criminal counts for the November 2018 city of Paradise fire.