California power company caused state's deadliest blaze, investigation finds

Hellish Race Through Flames to Rescue People from California's Camp Fire

Cal Fire's investigators found evidence that PG&E violated a tree-trimming law requiring adequate clearance between trees and power lines.

"After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, Cal Fire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E located in the Pulga area", said Cal Fire officials in today's statement. "Tinder dry vegetation" and high winds "caused extreme rates of spread", a statement read. The cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation into electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E.

The fire, which would be known as the most destructive in the state's history, burned a total of 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 structures.

PG&E's extension request "reflects no sense of urgency in addressing the serious problems and issues confronting" the company, Newsom's office writes in a brief it plans to file Wednesday. California law now holds utilities like PG&E financially liable for fires started by their equipment, regardless of whether they acted negligently.

PG&E works on power lines to fix damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018.

The investigative report on the cause of the Camp Fire has been forwarded to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson testifies before the state Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee in Sacramento on May 15, 2019. Authorities said it was like no fire they had seen before.

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Paradise Mayor Jody Jones says she is not surprised to hear Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked a November blaze that killed 85 people in her town and she hopes the findings help its legal case against the utility.

Jones says "it's nice to have a definite answer" about the cause of the blaze that decimated the town.

Cal Fire announced the results of their investigation on Wednesday, six months after the wildfire that almost wiped out the town of Paradise.

PG&E's bankruptcy reorganization plan is due by the end of May, but it has requested an extension until November.

PG&E had already admitted it was likely to blame, and filed for protective bankruptcy in January to shield itself against billions of dollars in fire-related liability lawsuits.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a Wednesday filing that PG&E shouldn't get an extra six months to reorganize.

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