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Dixie Fire May Be Linked To PG&E Equipment, Utility Says

Smoke rises from the Dixie Fire burning along Highway 70 in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Noah Berger
AP Photo
Smoke rises from the Dixie Fire burning along Highway 70 in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Friday, July 16, 2021.

A major wildfire burning in California's North State may have been tied to Pacific Gas and Electric equipment, according to documents the utility filed with state regulators Sunday.

PG&E reported to the California Public Utilities Commission that their equipment may have been involved in sparking the Dixie Fire that has forced evacuations in Butte and Plumas counties.

The report states that on July 13 a PG&E employee responded to a report of a power outage at Cresta

Dam off of Highway 70. The employee reported blown fuses and a tree leaning into a conductor on top of a pole, with fire at the base of the tree.

The report also states that Cal Fire removed several pieces of PG&E equipment from the ignition site for use in its investigation into the cause of the fire.

The Dixie Fire is now 30,074 and only 15% contained. One firefighter has been injured, though no damage has yet been reported.

"The information PG&E submitted is preliminary, and the company submitted this report in an abundance of caution given CAL FIRE’s collection of PG&E facilities in connection with its investigation. PG&E is cooperating with CAL FIRE’s investigation," PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno wrote in a statement.

Though the cause of the Dixie Fire hasn’t been officially determined, PG&E equipment has been found at fault in a number of recent California wildfires, including the 2018 Camp Fire that devastated the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

Other fires recently sparked by PG&E equipment include the 2020 Zogg Fire which killed four people and destroyed more than 204 buildings in Shasta and Tehama counties and the 2019 Kincade fire which destroyed more than 374 structures in Sonoma County.

Ken came to NSPR through the back door as a volunteer, doing all the things that volunteers do. Almost nothing – nothing -- in his previous work experience suggests that he would ever be on public radio.
Chris Hagan is the Managing Editor, Digital Content for CapRadio.