The latest out of California on the deadly Camp Fire is that a downed power line from the state utility Pacific Gas & Electric is suspected of starting the blaze on Nov. 8:
PG&E power lines may have sparked deadly Camp Fire, according to radio transmissions https://t.co/3XBBJFoaRw
— Mark S. Getzfred (@marknyt) November 11, 2018
From the Mercury News:
PARADISE — Downed PG&E power lines, amid high winds, may have sparked the deadly Camp Fire that has destroyed the town of Paradise and killed at least nine people, according to hours of firefighter radio transmissions reviewed by Bay Area News Group.
At about 6:33 a.m. Thursday, firefighters were dispatched to a vegetation fire “under the high tension power lines” across the Feather River from Poe Dam, where Cal Fire officials have pinpointed the fire’s origin, according to the transmissions. The first firefighters arrived there at 6:43 a.m and noted the fire was being buttressed by 35 mph winds.
“We’ve got eyes on the vegetation fire. It’s going to be very difficult to access, Camp Creek Road is nearly inaccessible,” one firefighter told dispatch. “It is on the west side of the river underneath the transmission lines.”
As firefighters rushed to Poe Dam early Thursday morning, each truck acknowledged over the radio, “Copy, power lines down,” as part of safety protocol for firefighters.
PG&E was aware of the fire risk that day, but did not preemptively shut off power as it has done in the past during similar wind and weather conditions:
PG&E has determined that it will not proceed with plans today for a Public Safety Power Shutoff in portions of 8 Northern CA counties, as weather conditions did not warrant this safety measure. We want to thank our customers for their understanding. https://t.co/DqYJz1iWve pic.twitter.com/fIjiExGmFP
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) November 8, 2018
Over to you, PG&E:
BREAKING: #CampFire in Northern California becomes state's deadliest in 85 years, as death toll climbs to at least 29; has burned more than 6,000 homes and scorched 111,000 acres. https://t.co/n02FsTyERg
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) November 12, 2018
On Twitter, President Trump has been criticizing the state for its forest management procedures:
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2018
But this is not anything new regarding PG&E and fires. This June, Cal Fire found that PG&E was responsible for the Napa Valley fire in 2017:
— Mercury News (@mercnews) June 9, 2018
“PG&E has been trying to duck responsibility for the fires, blaming everything from climate change to local fire departments and the state’s liability laws,” said Patrick McCallum, chairman of Up From the Ashes, a coalition of fire victims. “Cal Fire’s report puts the blame where it belongs — squarely on PG&E — confirming it was responsible for many of the fires that devastated so many lives.”
Of course, environmental groups in the state think the utility is cutting down too many trees to begin with. From the Sacramento Bee:
Is PG&E going too far in cutting trees for fire safety? A Sacramento group says yes
Criticized for its role in several catastrophic California wildfires, state utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric is on a mission to clear trees near power lines that could topple and hit lines causing fires.
But is the giant utility going too far? A group of Sacramentans is saying yes.
Some members of the Save the American River Association and the American River Parkway Coalition and others are fighting to stop PG&E from cutting down what they estimate could be 100 cottonwood and oak trees near a major electricity transmission line that runs through the parkway near Discovery Park.
We’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming days:
"At some point we have to say enough is enough," said state Sen. Jerry Hill. "And I think we need to seriously look at whether an investor-owned utility model is good for California." Story via @jersiegel and @ryan_levi.https://t.co/kwpt6jkyRh
— KQED News (@KQEDnews) November 11, 2018
It’s a conversation that needs to be had and frankly needs to happen. These larger utilities may save money with scale, but it’s clear getting infrastructure under control may be too big a task.
— Kyle Buis (@kylebuis) November 11, 2018
The Camp Fire is 25% contained:
#CampFire [update] Despite 25 percent containment, there is still active fire in several areas. We ask everyone affected to remain patient as first responders work to make the area safe for residents to return. pic.twitter.com/6J1bmE7OJX
— CAL FIRE Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department (@CALFIRE_ButteCo) November 12, 2018
And it’s still too dangerous for residents to return:
Personnel working in & around the fire areas, continue to identify numerous life safety hazards. Evacuation orders cannot be lifted & no citizens can access the areas until safe. @ButteSheriff @paradise_ca @CHP_Valley @CountyofButte @CHP_Oroville #CampFire pic.twitter.com/0KK1XBmSDw
— CAL FIRE Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department (@CALFIRE_ButteCo) November 11, 2018
OUT: Reporters acting foolishly during hurricanes; IN: Reporters acting foolishly during fires https://t.co/YKEOu6m2Rz
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) November 10, 2018
As some Malibu residents saved their own homes, celeb Camile Grammer thanked firefighters for rescuing her Ferraris https://t.co/mJkZkNdU1z
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) November 12, 2018