Judge orders PG&E to provide information about possible role in starting the Fly and Dixie Fires

The Fly Fire merged with the Dixie Fire which also appears to have been started by the company’s equipment

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Firefighters near the site of a venting propane tank on the Dixie Fire. August 4, 2021. Jay Walter photo.

12:58 p.m. PDT August 8, 2021

The Washington Post reported August 7 that a federal judge ordered PG&E to explain the utility company’s role in starting the Dixie and Fly Fires. The official causes of the fires are still under investigation, but U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked the company in an order issued late Friday to give details, by August 16, about the equipment and vegetation in the area where the fires started. Alsup oversees PG&E’s criminal probation for felony convictions stemming from the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.

On July 18 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) told the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that on July 13 the company’s equipment may have ignited the Dixie Fire which at 453,000 acres has grown to become the second largest single fire in the recorded history of California.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Dixie Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.

PG&E also said in another filing with the PUC on August 2 that its equipment may also be to blame for starting the Fly fire which eventually merged with the Dixie fire.

The Fly Fire was reported Thursday, July 22 near Keddie in Butterfly Valley about four miles north of Quincy. At first there was a question whether it was a spot fire from the Dixie Fire several miles away, or if it was unrelated. A fire behavior analysis determined the spot fire possibility was unlikely.

PG&E said that at about 5:01 p.m. on July 22 activity on SmartMeters, a line recloser, and alarms reported a problem, and the Gansner 1101 circuit was deenergized. Later PG&E assisted the U.S. Forest Service with moving and examining a tree that was resting on a conductor on the circuit.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Judge orders PG&E to provide information about possible role in starting the Fly and Dixie Fires”

  1. I do not believe there will ever be a fix to this. We as Americans have come to relay on our utilities. Maybe instead of passing on the cost of their restitution to their customers they should hit their investors’ wallets. Maybe that would spark some change as to how they maintain their transmission lines when angry investors come knocking at their doors.

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