An investigation by state fire investigators has determined that PG&E was responsible for a destructive wildfire that took more than three weeks to get under control September 2015, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced Thursday. The agency, commonly referred to as Cal Fire. The department will seek $90 million from PG&E to cover the costs of fighting the fire.
According to Cal Fire, evidence point to a contact made between and a powerline as cause of the initial fire. The powerline was located near Butte Mountain Road in Amador County. Cal Fire considers it to have caused the seventh-largest wildfire in the history of California. Two people died as a result of the wildfire and more than 900 structures were destroyed.
Fighting the fire was a massive effort. The blaze moved into Calaveras County. About 5,000 helped battle blaze. They used 519 fire engines, 18 helicopters, eight airtankers, 92 hand crews, 115 bulldozers, and 60 water tenders.
Cal Fire has forwarded its report to the district attorney’s offices in both Amador County and Calaveras County. PG&E, also in a statement released Thursday, said “we accept the report’s finding that a tree made contact with a power line, but we do not believe it is clear what caused the tree to fail or that vegetation management practices fell short.”
PG&E said it monitors 50 million trees per year and trim or remove more than a million trees annually. Two years ago, PG&E added, it responded to dry conditions caused by California’s drought to include more air and foot patrols, lookout towers and cameras to detect fires early.