By Macy Jenkins


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — PG&E has been at fault for several deadly wildfires across the state, and now the company may also be to blame for the Camp Fire.

“We have eyes on the vegetation fire,” said one firefighter in a call to dispatch. “It’s going to be very difficult to access Camp Creek Road, it’s nearly inaccessible.”

Thursday morning at 6:43 a.m., Butte County firefighters called dispatch after seeing flames across the Feather River from Poe Dam.

“It is on the west side of the river, underneath the transmission lines,” the firefighter went on to say. “Probably about 35 mph sustained wind on it.”

READ: Evacuees Continue To Search For Loved Ones In Wake Of Camp Fire

CBS13 obtained a report that PG&E made from the California Public Utilities Commission. It described an incident at 6:15 a.m., 28 minutes before that call from firefighters. It read: “PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line in Butte County.”

CalFire records show the Camp Fire started at 6:33 a.m., just 18 minutes later.

“This was a devastating fire,” said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea in a press conference on Friday.”And if you’ve been up in this area, you know that you know how quickly it came through the Paradise area.”

Thursday’s report also said PG&E noticed that a tower on the Caribou-Palermo power line was damaged, just one mile northeast of Pulga: the exact origin of the Camp Fire.

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A PG&E spokesperson told CBS13: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, employees, contractors and the communities we serve. The cause of the Camp Fire has not yet been determined. PG&E has provided an initial electric incident report to the Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The information provided in this report is preliminary and PG&E will fully cooperate with any investigations.”

The California Public Utilities Commission is working with CALFire and CALOES to monitor fire conditions. A spokesperson says the company will consider PG&E’s report in its investigation. And once it’s safe, investigators will inspect the location where the fire began.

Comments (34)
    1. You seem to use the same links as Drudge. Just shows everyone how good of an aggregate he is. Nice of you to drive more traffic that way.

    2. Plarp Zootie says:

      California needs to rid itself of these hate filled Republicans who are starting these fires.

      1. Kevin Lee says:

        Idiot! Republicans are filled with only LOVE!

  1. Donald McSever says:

    The root cause of these huge fires is vegetation overgrowth, regardless of whether the initial trigger event is a sparky transmission line or a lightning strike or a camp fire or a flat tire.

    1. Carl Mayo says:

      exactly. california’s government would rather see an entire forest burn down than to harvest a single tree. their ridiculous ‘old growth’ laws have turned wooded areas into dangerous tinderboxes.

      1. Bill Manus says:

        Intelligence.
        A trait you seem to be sorely lacking.

      2. True if they don’t harvest the trees then wild fires will do it for them.

  2. James Scott Taylor says:

    Terrorist arsonists responsible?

    1. Paul Clayton says:

      You can’t ask that question. To do so would be Islamophobic. We know that there are lots of Muslims in CA. And we know that the Jihadis have been telling them to ‘set fires.’ But to put one and one together, and come up with two, is now against the law in California, and probably America.

  3. Matthew Dunnyveg says:

    Regardless of how we feel about California, we Americans should hope and pray that these post-Americans get these fires put out. The alternative is a further metastasis of liberalism when these nuts become refugees and invade American states.

  4. Chuck Gallup says:

    Geeeezuuus!
    Blaming PG&E? Really?
    Let’s treat this like guns: “Anybody using power from PG&E is an arsonist!”
    “You can have my power when you pry my cold dead fingers from the breaker.”

    PG&E is supplying demand.
    If it was a PGE cable…don’t forget about the nutcases that like to damage other people’s property.

    I live in fire country. Fire is good. Nay essential! Guess which political ideology seeks to deny fire?

    Instead worry about Liberal Californians destroying the state and the nation.

  5. Gary Griffin says:

    You used to have the ability to say this was an act of God if something failed because of the weather. You better make up your minds if you want electric service or no electric service because you are going to bankrupt PGE. And when that happens guess who is going to run your electricity…….the same GOVERNMENT that won’t let people clean the forests in the first place.

  6. Jim Wiegand says:

    For the record…………. Years ago the devastating Fountain Fire started right under newly built high voltage transmission lines. I was there shortly after it started. A friend of mine said they had charged the lines and they arched causing the fire. The official coverup investigation blamed an arsonist even though an arsonist would have had to hike to the fire’s point of origin below highway 299.

  7. As someone who has spent 25 years as an electrical engineer specializing in high voltage substation and t-line engineering, I always find astonishment at the conclusions drawn by journalists regarding electrical failures. I also live in Texas so I don’t have a dog in this fight with PG&E.

    It’s unlikely that a 115 kV transmission line caused the fire, and the event times need to be checked (i.e. are the various recording devices GPS time synced). The PG&E devices almost assuredly are.

    A more likely scenario is that a fire caused the line outage, not the other way around. I’ve seen this first hand where smoke rising into the lines can cause an arcing fault. Another scenario would be a long tree limb flew into the lines causing an arcing fault, but you would need very high winds and a sizable limb for this to occur. The limb could then be blown into embers and possibly ignite a fire. Neither of these scenarios would be the fault of PG&E.

    Could there be a line breakage and an arcing fault as the line fell. Yes, but high voltage lines (such as a 115 kV line) are engineered designs with high safety factors for this sort of thing. It’s a unlikely scenario. Line drops and fallen poles are much more common at distribution levels (12-35 kV).

    Too many holes to make the conclusion drawn in this story and it’s bad reporting by an uninformed person.

    Prayers to all in California from Texas.

    1. The operators of transmission lines also do helicopter inspections of all their lines at least once a year and any foliage that grows too close is cleared as soon as it is accessible. Unless the “eco-terrorists” file their lawsuits.

    2. Dawn Panda says:

      Thank you for a bit of common sense. I’m NOT an expert, I work in low-voltage. However, this report has obviously put the cart before the horse in terms of cause and effect. A fire sparked by weather, traffic, humans is going to cause the damage noted to the tower and the lines, more likely that vice-versa. Whatever happened to fact checking before publishing inflammatory articles?
      I also noted the firefighter’s comment about accessibility. Without the power lines and the maintenance by the power company, that would have been even LESS accessible. Maybe the state should be looking at the condition of roads into wildland areas?

  8. Dusty Rhodes says:

    I worked on AT&T right of ways in the summer when I was in high school. Their right of ways were 100 feet wide and entirely clear of trees and tall bushes. PG&E should be doing the same. It costs money and rates will have to increase to cover the costs, but it may be worth the time/money.

  9. James Harvey says:

    Ah yes… PG&E is to blame for burning down white town after white town… totally not intentionally started fires by the officials that hate white people.

  10. Gary Lackey says:

    Typical of any utility or infrastructure that requires components that meet specific standards > > > you need to perform QA/QC inspections and perform maintenance. Liberal vs conservative inspections and maintenance have different risks when it comes to outcomes.

    Just look at the Oroville Dam Spillway Fiasco… this is actually a liberal vs conservative issue whether you like it or not… risks change as do future consequences and liberal applications don’t usually lead to sustainable outcomes… at some liberal point > > > failure is imminent.

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article217824370.html

  11. Dusty Granger says:

    This happens every year, thanks to the Democrats that are in control. The fire is always fueled by the same old growth / dead wood that the Liberals refuse to clear. So the fire is out of control due to the fuel that Liberals essentially put there.

    One sign of a mental disorder is you make the same blatant mistakes over and over and over, never learning the first time. People and other living things have to keep paying the price and suffer for the mental illness of Liberalism.

  12. Norm Stansfield says:

    When your policy, in a desert climate, is to “preserve” as much wilderness filled with flammable material as possible, it’s kinda silly to go looking for the specific spark every time the powder-keg you built for yourself lights up.

    There is only one way to stop these devastating fires: open up the land to farming. They’ll manage the land, and limit fires.

  13. Ed Cole says:

    Even if the fire was caused by a spark from a transmission line, or a downed line, how is that PG&E’s fault? If it was a spark, it was probably because wind shook a line and it arced or shorted against something. If a downed line, also probably due to wind. The only thing that could prevent it is if they don’t transmit power – so is that what the accusers want? No electricity. As for the over growth of vegetation that dries into kindling, well, again, that is on the state to mandate clearances, or in the forest areas, the department of forestry to ensure spark prone areas are kept clear or that the utility company is made to clear them. Is there any evidence PG&E did not fulfill any required clearing of vegetation?

  14. Paul Clayton says:

    Is it possible that the monies that CA is supposed to be spending on clearing out dead wood, are now being spent on benefits for ILLEGAL ALIENS? I’m just asking a question. AND… didn’t the Orroville dam almost collapse because the emergency spillway had not been maintained in years, that money going to benefits for ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    1. Jack Peiffer says:

      A likely scenario, and a post that cuts to the bottom line; which is the total and absolute failure of the government of this state! Numerous posts about various causes of this fire, but at the bottom line the entire and total blame for these scenarios and disasters lie with the failure, incompetence and ignorance of the California government people who continue to fail in their responsibilities and actions.

  15. WHEY MAH CHECKS BE?? Newsome be done promised me mah checks!!!

  16. Jay ND says:

    Do not worry > PG&E will take no blame and will not increase your rates to pay for repairs !

  17. Jack Jackson says:

    “PG&E”??? I guess, if you live in that area, you know what PG&E is. However, living in the Midwest, I have no idea. It’s a good thing the firefighters are much better at their job then this reporter is at her job. Otherwise, the entire state would be in flames.

  18. Mike Frederickson says:

    Let’s sue someone with DEEP POCKETS, PG&E otherwise we won’t get our UNDESERVED FREE MONEY.