U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who oversees Pacific Gas and Electric’s criminal probation for felony convictions stemming from the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, issued an order Friday, Aug. 6, demanding the giant utility company explain its involvement in the Dixie and Fly fires, which have since merged to what is now the second largest wildfire in California’s history. The utility has said its equipment may have been responsible for starting both fires.
While the official cause of the fire remains under investigation, the San Francisco judge asked PG&E to provide information on the tree that fell on utility’s power line at the origin of the Dixie Fire. He also wants information on the equipment and vegetation in that area where the fire started and any images showing the tree that fell on the power line. The district judge also wants information and the timeline for when that circuit was last worked on.
The court order also requires PG&E to provide details describing the extent of trimmed and untrimmed vegetation near the area of the origin of the Fly Fire in Butterfly Valley. He has asked for information regarding the circuit suspected in starting the fire, and any officers or employees involved with the decision to keep that circuit online.
The judge is also requiring the utility to identify any other fire it suspects it may have started during the current wildfire season. For each, it must provide the date started, suspected cause, acreage burned, structures destroyed and any fatalities.
It has been reported that a PG&E spokesperson said that the utility is aware of the court’s orders and will respond by the Aug. 16 deadline.