A high voltage line operated by the PG & E electricity company was the cause of the deadliest fire in the history of California (USA), which last year claimed the lives of 85 people by razing in its entirety a town of 26,000 inhabitants, informed the local authorities.
The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Calfire, revealed on Wednesday the results of an investigation that lasted several months (the fire was declared on November 8) and attributed to the power line the origin of the flames. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG & E), the largest electric utility in the western United States, already admitted in February that its facilities were the "probable" cause of the so-called "Camp Fire" fire, which razed 62,053 hectares and destroyed more than 18,000 buildings, in addition to causing 85 deaths.
Calfire's report determined that sparks from a broken wire belonging to a high-voltage line near Pulga's town caused the first flames and that the dry vegetation, high temperatures and strong wind that day contributed to expand the fire at an "extreme" pace.
The fire descended by the slope of the Sierra Nevada and reached in a matter of minutes the populations of Magalia, Paradise (the largest of them all and where it caused the greatest number of deaths) and Concow. In the vicinity of this last town, the wind boosted the vegetation against another power line and a second fire was declared, which was engulfed by the first and further contributed to its rapid expansion.
Speculation about the possible liability of PG & E in the fire began a few days after the fire was declared, when the company informed the authorities that a small plane had identified minutes before the flames started an anomaly in the transmission line near Flea.
PG & E, which provides gas and electric service to some 16 million California residents, filed for bankruptcy on January 29, when it filed for Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy law. in the face of the impossibility of facing the enormous amounts of money demanded by those affected.
At the end of February, PG & E had already received several claims as alleged responsible for the fire whose total exceeds 10 billion dollars, and the firm said it expected that with the arrival of new complaints and the addition of others as responsible for declared fires in 2017, in total it could have to pay 30,000 million in compensations.
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