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Investigators Pin Blame For Three Wildfires On PGE

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Sacramento, CA – CAL Fire investigators, in officially releasing the causes of four wildfires during last October’s Fire Siege, are pointing to PG&E violations in three of them.

CAL Fire officials say the siege involved more than 170 fires that burned nearly a quarter-million acres in Northern California, requiring assistance of more than 11,000 firefighters from 17 states.

Today, in releasing the causes of four fires that occurred in Butte and Nevada counties, investigators provided summaries of the La Porte, McCourtney, Lobo, and Honey fires, referring investigations for all but the La Porte blaze to the counties’ district attorneys for review of California Public Resources Code section 4293 violations. While none of these specific wildfire incidents caused any injuries or deaths to civilians or fire personnel the three incidents where fault was demonstrated collectively destroyed about a thousand acres and well over a hundred structures.

According to the investigators’ summaries, the La Porte Fire in Butte County, which ignited Oct. 9, even though it was caused by tree branches falling onto PG&E power lines, there were no violations of state law. The blaze burned 8,417 acres and destroyed 74 structures.

However, the determined cause of the Oct. 8 McCourtney Fire in Nevada County was a tree located too close to power lines falling into one. The incident burned 76 acres and destroyed 13 structures.

Investigators state that the Oct. 8 Lobo Fire in Nevada County and the Oct. 9 Honey Fire in Butte County were both caused by parts of trees making contact with power lines due to insufficient clearance. The Lobo Fire charred 821 acres and destroyed 47 structures. The Honey Fire burned 76 acres but no structures were involved in the blaze.