Cal Fire: McCourtney, Lobo wildfires caused by trees falling into powerlines, PG&E cited
May 25, 2018
Cal Fire on Friday cited PG&E in connection with the causes of three October fires, two of them Nevada County's Lobo and McCourtney blazes.
The state fire protection agency said the Lobo Fire, which destroyed 47 structures and burned 821 acres in the Lake Wildwood area, was caused by a tree touching PG&E power lines. Cal Fire determined that an apparent code violation, which requires adequate clearance between trees and power lines, occurred.
The McCourtney fire, which destroyed 13 buildings and burned 76 acres, was caused by a tree falling onto PG&E power lines. An investigation revealed evidence that PG&E allegedly failed to remove a nearby tree, Cal Fire said.
Additionally, the Butte County Honey Fire was caused by a tree branch touching PG&E power lines — also an apparent clearance violation, Cal Fire said.
The fire agency has forwarded its investigations into the October fires to the respective District Attorney's offices, it said. Prosecutors couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Contacted Friday, PG&E said in a statement that it looks forward to reviewing the reports.
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"Based on the information we have so far, we believe our overall programs met our state's high standards," PG&E said.
Cal Fire said the La Porte Fire in Butte County, which destroyed 74 structures and burned 8,417 acres, was caused by tree branches falling onto PG&E power lines. The investigation found no violations.
The investigations into the four Nevada and Butte fires are the first completed by Cal Fire.
The October fire siege involved over 170 blazes and burned over 245,000 acres in the North State. Over 11,000 firefighters from 17 states helped control the blazes, Cal Fire said.