Cal Fire has announced that the deadly Camp Fire in November 2018 was caused by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) transmission lines.
The state agency said it conducted a “very meticulous and thorough investigation” of the fire, the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California’s history. The blaze destroyed 90% of Paradise, California, killed 85 people and destroyed more than 18,800 structures.
Paradise previously had a population of 27,000 residents. The survivors have been relocated to communities in Redding, Chico and Oroville.
In a regulatory filing from February, PG&E said that it believed it would be probable that their equipment would be found at fault for the fire. Previously, PG&E admitted that it had problems with the transmission equipment near the site of the fire.
Cal Fire said the combination of wind and warm conditions allow the Camp Fire to spread quickly.
The cause of the second fire, according to Cal Fire, was vegetation into electrical lines that were owned and operated by the utility company.
State regulations require utilities to implement strict vegetation management practices, including standards for keeping the vegetation clear of electrical lines.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in late January after being hit with a string of lawsuits related to the deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
It may take years to resolve these lawsuits. PG&E may also face criminal charges related to the 2018 fire, including involuntary manslaughter.
The utility is facing liabilities exceeding $30 billion connected to the fires in 2017 and 2018.
PG&E was previously found liable for 17 fires in California’s wine country in 2017. This includes the Redwood Fire that killed 9 people. PG&E was also found responsible for the Cascade Fire that killed four people in Yuba County that same year.
Cal Fire has sent its most recent report to the district attorney.