SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – The 2020 Zogg Fire destroyed more than 200 structures and burned 56,000 acres across Shasta and Tehama counties.
On Wednesday, a settlement was reached between those counties and PG&E. A collective settlement of $12.36 million was made between the two counties and PG&E. John Fiske, who represents both counties in the lawsuit said a majority of that money would go towards Shasta County.
“The lion share, the very large majority of that money goes towards Shasta County because much of that fire happened in Shasta County,” explained Fiske.
“A small portion of the fire happened in Tehama County. So a small portion will be going to Tehama County. But over 90% of those funds will be going towards Shasta County.”
Fiske said once the county receives its funds, it will be up to the Shasta Board of Supervisors and the county to decide how it will be spent.
Shasta County Counsel Rubin Cruse said, "Holding PG&E accountable is increasingly important as utility caused wildfires continue to ravage the state and region.”
In a statement, PG&E’s CEO Patti Poppe said, “When I joined PG&E earlier this year, I said that I wanted to make it right and make it safe for our customers and communities. We are pleased to have reached these resolutions so that we can help our hometowns as they recover.”
“Local cities and counties are critical to the fabric of our lives, and today’s resolution reflects our commitment to supporting them and all they are doing to rebuild after these two fires. We look forward to continuing to partner with these local entities as we work to strengthen our energy systems and deliver for our customers and communities,” adds Poppe.
But for some people like Will Romero, the money could never bring back what was lost.
“It doesn't matter how many zeroes you tack on there, that is not going to make it better,” said Romero.
The memory of the Zogg Fire is still fresh in Romero’s mind.
“I was coming back from my other property,” explained Romero. “When we got here to the house, you could see that people were definitely concerned and it started a rush.”
Romero is still rebuilding from the 2013 Clover Fire.
“It’s really, really hard,” said Romero. “I keep everything as close as possible. I never know when I'm going to have to run for it.”
Back in March, CAL FIRE determined that Zogg Fire was started when a pine tree came into contact with PG&E equipment.