Aug 7, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Judge: PG&E must explain role in Dixie Fire that's raging in California

PG&E truck passes Dixie fire

A PG&E truck passes by a home with a message to firefighters during the Dixie fire near Quincy, California, on July 26. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday gave Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest power company, one week to explain its role in potentially starting two fires that have now burned hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern California.

Driving the news: PG&E told the state last month that malfunctions with one of its utility poles may have caused the Dixie Fire, the third-largest blaze in state history and currently the largest fire in the U.S. And U.S. District Judge William Alsup wants to know details.

  • Alsup has also asked PG&E for more information on the Fly Fire, which later merged with the Dixie Fire.

Of note: Alsup oversees PG&E’s safety precautions while the utility remains under criminal probation from 2010 when its natural gas lines destroyed a suburban neighborhood south of San Francisco.

The big picture: Six of the seven largest fires in California's history have occurred since Aug. 2020, according to CalFire.

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