Officials: Power Lines Ignited Fatal Blaze in California

California fire officials say two sagging Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines ignited the Cascade Fire in 2017.

Posted: Oct. 9, 2018 12:07 PM
Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 12:21 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California fire officials say two sagging Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines made contact and ignited a blaze last year that killed four people and injured a firefighter.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday strong winds caused the lines to touch, creating an electrical arc that sent molten material onto dry vegetation below.

The blaze in Yuba County that started on Oct. 8, 2017, scorched 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) and destroyed 264 structures.

It was one of several wildfires that swept through Northern California that month, killing 44 people and destroying more than 5,000 homes. State officials say insured damages alone topped $9 billion.

PG&E is facing dozens of lawsuits from insurers that have spent billions of dollars settling claims from homeowners.

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