Report: Power Line May Be Tied to Deadly NorCal ‘Camp Fire’

Pacific Gas and Electric Company experienced a “power outage” on a remote line in northern California just before the deadly “Camp Fire” started, local news station KQED reports. PG&E reportedly told the California Public Utilities Commission that it experienced an outage on the 115-kilovolt Caribou-Palermo line in Butte County at 6:15 a.m. Thursday, at a spot reportedly close to where firefighters first encountered the fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reportedly said the blaze started at 6:29 a.m. on Thursday. PG&E also reportedly said it sent aerial patrol after the fire started to survey the transmission line, and they found a “damaged transmission tower.” It is not clear if the transmission line damage occurred before or after the fire started. PG&E spokesperson PG&E spokesman told the news station their report to the California Public Utilities Commission was still “preliminary,” but the company is “fully cooperating” with Cal Fire. Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said the cause of the fire is still under investigation but said the agency would be looking into every possibility, “including electrical equipment failure.” Five people are reportedly dead in the blaze that has spread to 20,000 acres and destroyed thousands of structures.