California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) investigators have officially determined that contact between a tree and a PG&E powerline caused the 2015 Butte Fire that burned more than 70,000 acres of forest land, killing two citizens, and destroying more than 900 structures. The fire began in Amador County, and blazed into Calaveras County before being contained after 22 days.
Under state law, CAL FIRE now has the ability to seek recovery costs from PG&E for the state resources used to suppress the fire. The agency has stated its intent to seek costs in excess of $90 million to pay for the expense of fighting the fire. Two bills are also making their way through the Legislature this year – Senate Bill 1028 (Hill) and Senate Bill 1463 (Moorlach) – that would place requirements on utilities to take wildfire mitigation actions in high risk areas. RCRC is supporting both measures.