Tubbs Fire, Which Killed 22, Was Started by Private Power System—Not by PG&E

The Tubbs Fire that burned through Santa Rosa and wide swaths of Northern California in 2017, killing 22 people, was started by a private electricity system, investigators have announced, and not by the energy utility PG&E as had been speculated. The San Jose Mercury News reports that lead Cal Fire investigator John Martinez concluded the wildfire began with an “electrical-caused fire originating from an unknown event affecting privately owned conductor or equipment.” The report quotes a local caretaker as saying: “[It was] just about to be replaced because it had been woodpeckered so damn bad, but it was here and it was holding.” Although PG&E has been cleared in the Tubbs Fire, investigators have determined the company’s equipment caused 17 of the infernos in the northern Bay Area and Napa and Sonoma wine country in 2017, and investigations into whether its equipment was responsible for the Camp Fire last November in Butte County in which 86 people died are ongoing. The Tubbs Fire began in October 2017 and destroyed 5,636 structures before it was extinguished.