PG&E: Equipment may have caused Dixie Fire in California

Equipment from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could be the source of the Dixie Fire, a wildfire that charred more than 30,000 acres in northern California and continues to force evacuations in some parts of Butte and Plumas counties, the private utility company said in a report. late Sunday evening.

PG&E says one of its employees saw the fire while inspecting a blown fuse.

The report says that around 7 a.m. last Tuesday, PG&E’s outage system showed an outage near the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon area, the same area in which the Dixie fire started.

“The man of trouble PG&E who responded observed from a distance what he thought was a blown fuse,” reads the report, which was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission shortly before 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The report, posted to PG&E Website, says that due to “difficult terrain and roadworks that resulted in the closure of the bridge,” the worker was unable to reach the pole with the blown fuse until approximately 4:40 pm that day.

When the spoiler arrived, he observed “a fire on the ground near the base of the tree,” as well as “two of the three blown fuses and what appeared to him to be a healthy green tree leaning into the tree. Bucks Creek 1101 12 kV conductor, which was still intact and hanging from the poles, ”the report said.

The utility worker called his supervisor, who in turn called 911.

Cal Fire reported that the blaze reached 10 or 15 acres later that evening. It has exploded in size since then. Cal Fire’s Butte unit in a Monday morning update reported the Dixie fire at just over 30,000 acres, up from about 19,000 acres on Sunday night, with containment still at 15%.

Cal Fire investigators recovered damaged PG&E equipment from the scene, according to the PG&E report.

PG&E has been found criminally responsible for the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, which killed 85 people in Butte County. His equipment has also been linked to the deadly 2020 Zogg Fire in Shasta County and the 2019 Kincade Destructive Fire in Sonoma County.

A first responder was injured in the fight against the Dixie Fire, according to the Cal Fire incident summaries.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place in the High Lakes, Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley areas of Plumas County, as well as the communities of Jonesville and Philbrook in Butte County, according to Cal Fire and sheriff officials.

About 800 structures remain at risk, Cal Fire said Monday.

Michael McGough is the anchor of the Sacramento Bee Breaking News reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A native of Sacramento and a longtime resident of the capital, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a journalism degree.

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