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Utility workers with PG&E repair a damaged powerline near Lakehead, Calif., on July 2. Photo: Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest power company, announced Wednesday plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines to reduce its future liability for damages from wildfires sparked by its equipment.

Why it matters: The announcement comes just days after the company told the state that malfunctions with one of its utility poles may have caused the Dixie Fire, which has burned at least 85,000 acres.

  • PG&E's equipment also ignited the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

How it works: Because California has a liability rule that allows property owners to sue public utility companies for damages, PG&E will always be responsible for damages caused by wildfires set by its equipment.

The big picture: PG&E's plan is a massive undertaking that could cost between $15 billion and $20 billion, Patricia Poppe, chief executive of PG&E's parent company, said Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

  • The California utility currently manages more than 25,000 miles of overhead power lines in areas prone to wildfires.
  • Company officials said they hope to install 1,000 miles or more of underground power lines each year, according to the Times.

Go deeper: Wildfires mushroom in West amid heat, drought, prompting evacuations

Go deeper

Wildfires mushroom in West amid heat, drought, prompting evacuations

Pyrocumulonimbus cloud towers over the Dixie Fire on Monday afternoon, seen via a California wildfire camera. (PG&E wildfire camera.)

Wildfires across the West dramatically increased in size from Monday through Tuesday, with 83 large blazes now burning in the U.S. and about 300 to the north in British Columbia.

Why it matters: The western wildfire season has kicked into high gear about two months early, as climate change-related drought and heat waves have dried out vegetation to levels not typically seen prior to late summer. About 20,000 firefighters are already deployed to blazes.

Resources pushed to limit as wildfires burn across U.S. and Canada

A helicopter flies with a load of water to the Bootleg Fire, near Bly, Oregon. Photo: Payton Bruni/AFP via Getty Images

Fire officials are seeing resources stretched to the limit as scores of wildfires burn across the U.S. and Canada amid hot, dry conditions.

Threat level: In Oregon, officials have called in firefighting support from outside the Pacific Northwest — as the biggest blaze in the U.S., the Bootleg Fire, swelled to 537 square miles Monday.

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.