PG&E conducted an “excessively delayed response” to the mammoth Dixie Fire of 2021, a stumbling effort that was a major factor behind the spread of the devastating inferno, a newly released state report has determined.
The embattled utility was guilty of a “prolonged response” to an initial outage and power line fault, according to the report by the state forestry and fire protection department, also known as Cal Fire.
PG&E’s delay became “a direct and negligent factor in the ignition of the fire” in July 2021, Cal Fire stated in the report.
The Cal Fire report was completed in January and forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office, but wasn’t released publicly until this month.
The state fire agency’s investigation determined that PG&E’s equipment caused the Dixie Fire. A tree contacting PG&E electrical distribution lines west of Cresta Dam was the origin of the blaze.
The Dixie Fire scorched sections of Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, and Tehama counties and consumed 963,300 acres. It was the largest single wildfire in California history and the second-largest blaze of any kind in the state.
PG&E pushed back against some of the key findings in the report and disputed that the utility acted in a tardy fashion.
“We believe we acted as a prudent operator,” PG&E stated in a post on its website.
Contributed by local news sources