An investigation from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has concluded that the state’s deadliest and most destructive fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
The Camp Fire began in November 2018 and burned a total of 153,336 acres, destroying 18,804 structures and resulting in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. According to a statement from Cal Fire, the tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions of strong winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures promoted the fire and caused extreme rates of spread.
The investigation identified a second ignition site, also caused by PG&E electrical distribution lines.
In response, PG&E has stated that it is fully cooperating with all ongoing investigations concerning the Camp Fire, and is actively working to create a safer environment for its customers with its Community Wildfire Safety Program. The program includes plans for:
- Real-time monitoring and intelligence
- Enhanced vegetation management practices
- Re-inspections of critical electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas
- Building a more resilient electric system
- Proactively shutting down power based on extreme conditions.