California Fire Officials: Pacific Gas & Electric Responsible for Dixie Fire

California Fire Officials: Pacific Gas & Electric Responsible for Dixie Fire Pacific Gas & Electric signage on their building (Michael Vi/Dreamstime)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Wednesday, 05 January 2022 10:26 PM

Pacific Gas & Electric's transmission lines ignited the Dixie Fire in Northern California, fire officials said, according to a CNBC report.

The fire, which was responsible for over one million burned acres and the destruction of 1,300 homes was started by transmission lines owned by PG & E, according to a new investigation led by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Cal Fire said Tuesday its "meticulous and thorough investigation" found the Dixie fire started from a tree that fell on PG&E's electrical distribution lines. CNBC noted "the tree was located west of a dam in Plumas County."

Since then, Cal Fire has notified the Butte County district attorney where the fire started. In response Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced an investigation would be ongoing with criminal charges still pending.

"We're gathering the evidence that Cal Fire, as a partner in this investigation, has provided," Ramsey stated. "We expect it to be some weeks yet before we come to a decision."

The Dixie Fire was California's second largest fire in the state's history with the first being, the August Complex, which saw over one million acres burn. In recent years, PG & E equipment has been the blame for several fires. In 2019, the utility company pleaded guilty 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter by way of the 2018 Camp Fire. The Dixie Fire was responsible fore one death.

"This tree was one of more than 8 million trees within strike distance to PG&E lines," the PG & E response to the Dixie fire reads. "Regardless of today's finding, we will continue to be tenacious in our efforts to stop fire ignitions from our equipment and to ensure that everyone and everything is always safe."

CNBC noted "earlier this year" the company announced it would bury 10,000 miles of power lines beginning the California's "highest threat districts."