SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A federal judge has given Pacific Gas and Electric until August 16 to explain its role in starting the Dixie and Fly fires.
In an order issued Friday, the judge asked for more information about trees that fell on the utility’s power lines where the fires started.READ MORE: McClatchy Seniors Create Wide Open Walls Mural On Campus
Last month, PG&E said a troubleman reported on the morning of July 13 seeing what looked like a blown fuse at some equipment at the Bucks Creek 1101 12kV line after an outage at the Cresta Dam off Highway 70. The troubleman wasn’t able to reach the pole until early that afternoon. At that point, the worker found two of three fuses blown and a tree leaning into a conductor. A fire was also on the ground, near the base of the tree, according to the report.
On August 3, the utility then said a tree landed on their equipment near Quincy where the Fly Fire started on July 22. The Fly Fire burned about 4,000 acres before it merged with the larger Dixie Fire, which has become the third-largest wildfire in California history burning nearly 450,000 acres and destroying more than 180 structures as of Saturday morning.READ MORE: University Of Silicon Andhra Campus Proposed In San Joaquin County
The Dixie Fire has gone on to burn in several counties, forcing thousands out of their homes and devastating several areas, including destroying the small town of Greenville.
For the Fly Fire, the federal judge is ordering PG&E to provide details on its equipment that was removed by the U.S. Forest Service and the exact location of where that equipment was. PG&E must also provide information describing the extent of trimmed and untrimmed vegetation in the area of that equipment, the circuit suspected in starting the fire, and any officers or employees involved in the decision to keep that circuit online.
With the Dixie Fire, the utility is required to provide all images it has of the Bucks Circuit—before the fire started—that show the tree suspected of falling on the equipment. Additionally, PG&E must provide information on the date and time in which that circuit was last worked on. PG&E must also identify the employee or contractor that was operating the drone the day the fire started and what the drone was doing.MORE NEWS: What Will Sacramento's New Homeless Shelter Look Like That's Set To Open This Week?
Aside from those two fires, PG&E must also identify any other fire it suspects it may have started during the current California wildfire season. For each fire, PG&E must provide details on the date it started, the suspected cause, the acreage burned, structures burned and any fatalities.