Investigators reveal cause of Tubbs Fire as private electrical system

Bay Area

Cal Fire investigators have determined the cause of the Tubbs Fire, which happened during the Oct. 2017 Fire Siege, to be a private electrical system adjacent to a residential structure. 

Officials say they did not identify any violations of state law, Public Resources Code, related to the casue of this fire. 

The Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County started Oct. 8, 2017 and burned a total of 36,087 acres. 

22 people were killed, one firefighter was injured, and 5,636 structures were destroyed. 

After the revelation, Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, issued the following statement: 

“This underscores the idea that we all have a role to play in wildfire prevention,” Sen. Bill Dodd said. “Regardless, it doesn’t negate the systemwide issues plaguing PG&E and the need for change in its leadership and culture. Afterall, Cal Fire previously found PG&E responsible for over a dozen Northern California wildfires and the cause of others remains under investigation.”

“We still need to understand what this means for PG&E’s financial health and whether it will continue to pursue bankruptcy protection,” Sen. Dodd said.  “As always, my priority will be on preventing future wildfires and protecting Californians from unfair utility rate increases.”

In total, the Oct. 2017 Fire Siege involved more than 170 fires and burned at least 245,000 acres in Northern California. 

The cause came as a relief to PG&E, which plans to file for bankruptcy protection next week, citing billions of potential damages from other deadly and destructive wildfires.

Governor Newsom weighed in on the investigation during a press conference in Sacramento. He said his office estimated the Tubbs Fire would have accounted for more than half of PG&E’s potential liability in recent wildfires. 

The utility planned to file for bankruptcy citing the $30 billion it faces in liability. The governor’s office says the Tubbs fire accounted for $17 billion of that. 

Newsom said it’s still up to PG&E to decide whether to file for bankruptcy. He said his office is staying in close and constant contact with the company. 

“My focus is not PG&E, my focus is on California and Californians. My focus is on safe, reliable, and affordable service,” he said. “It’s about making sure we have the backs of those victims.”



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