Californians live with the unsettling knowledge that wildfires can and do strike regularly. Some of the 19 major wildfires in the state this year were caused by an individual’s carelessness or lighting strikes. Others were likely caused by Pacific Gas & Electric’s improperly maintained powerlines and its aging grid, which was the case with the record-breaking 2018 Camp Fire.
A major fire in a record year
While the investigation is ongoing, early reports on the devastating 56,000-acre Zogg Fire in Shasta County near Igo look to place the cause as a PG&E distribution line known as the Girvan 1101 12 kV circuit. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), satellite data and wildfire cameras show smoke, fire or heat signs on Sept. 27 in an area served by powerlines that shut down, causing alarms at the utility. These lines served the customers in the area of Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane.
Fatalities and damages
The damage by the Zogg Fire was lethal, claiming the lives of three adults from Igo and one minor (no information given due to their age). One other individual was severely injured. The fast-moving fire fueled by dry conditions torched 204 structures and damaged 27 more.
PG&E settled the Camp Fire
The utility has finally put closure on the 2018 Camp Fire. The deadliest fire in state history, it killed 84 people and caused billions of dollars in damages. The utility pled guilty in June to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter because its crumbling powerlines caused the fire.
Victims often need help to rebuild
The devastating impact of losing everything, including loved ones, is incalculable. Nevertheless, the state and federal courts do hear cases involving PG&E and others responsible for these fires. Victims often get legal guidance from wildfire attorneys who help those who lost loved ones, homes and property in fires.