SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today said that it is cooperating fully with an investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) into the source of ignition for the Butte Fire.
In a CAL FIRE incident briefing in Angels Camp, California, today, Barry Anderson, PG&E vice president of emergency preparedness and operations, said:
“While we don’t have all the facts yet, a live tree may have contacted a PG&E line in the vicinity of the ignition point. We are cooperating fully with CAL FIRE in an investigation of whether this could have been a source of ignition for the Butte fire.
“We don’t know if a tree making contact with our line caused the fire. That will be the subject of the CAL FIRE investigation, and these types of investigations take time. We do know the people who lost their homes in this fire are our customers. The first responders fighting this fire are our partners. The State of California facing this terrible fire season is our home. And, as we learn about the two deaths that have occurred in the fire, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.
“Regardless of the outcome of the investigation we are going to do everything in our power to help our customers, support our first responder partners and work with the State of California to improve fire safety and fire response. We are working closely with the Red Cross to provide for the immediate needs of the community.
“As part of our support for CAL FIRE’s investigation, we are reviewing our inspection and patrol data for 2014 and 2015 for the area near this tree and we will be sharing the results of those inspections and patrols with CAL FIRE.
“I want to reassure our customers that we at PG&E take the risk of wildfires very seriously and are focused on doing everything possible to mitigate the risk of fire during this drought. Since June, we have been conducting daily air patrols along sections of major electric lines to look for hazards that could spark wildfires. We have provided $2 million in funding to local Fire Safe Councils for fire fuel reduction, emergency access projects and public education. We have provided funding for lookout towers and cameras for early fire detection.
“We’re committed to continuing to support CAL FIRE in making communities safe for residents to return.”
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.