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Firefighters set a back fire along a hillside near PG&E power lines during firefighting operations to battle the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, Calif., on Oct. 26, 2019. Photo: Philip Pachec/AFP via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric reached a $125 million settlement with California's energy regulator Tuesday over the 2019 Kincade Fire, which burned more than 77,000 acres, destroyed hundreds of homes and injured four people in Sonoma County.

The big picture: The California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement the proposed settlement would address "multiple violations" that its safety and enforcement division found — notably a worn power line that investigators said "failed" and broke off a transmission tower during the blaze.

Of note: PG&E is facing 33 criminal charges over the October 2019 wildfire, which Cal Fire also concluded was caused by a jumper cable on a PG&E transmission tower that broke amid high winds.

  • The utility has acknowledged that its transmission line caused the fire, but the company rejects that a crime was committed.

Details: "Under the proposed settlement, PG&E shareholders would pay a $40 million penalty to California's General Fund and incur an $85 million permanent disallowance for cost recovery for the permanent removal of abandoned transmission facilities within its service territory, for a total of $125 million," per the California Public Utilities Commission statement.

What they're saying: PG&E said in a statement to Bloomberg that it didn't accept allegations it had committed safety violations, but the settlement "will assist in allowing all parties to move forward from the fire."

What's next: The California Public Utilities Commission was due to vote on whether to approve the settlement on Dec. 2, according to its statement.

Go deeper

Appeals court blocks order requiring COVID vaccines for California prisons

An aerial view San Quentin State Prison on July 8, 2020. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked an order requiring all California prison workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or have a religious or medical exemption.

Driving the news: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday approved a request for a stay of the order pending appeal. The vaccination mandate was set to go into effect by Jan. 12, but the stay blocks enforcement until March, AP reports.

California faces "critical" wildfire risk on Thanksgiving

Computer model projection of maximum wind gusts on Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day in the Los Angeles area. Darker reds correspond to 70 mph winds. (Weatherbell.com)

Southern California is facing an intense Santa Ana wind event over the Thanksgiving holiday, with "critical" wildfire risk since very little rain has fallen in this region so far this wet season.

Why it matters: Fire danger is forecast to be highest from Wednesday through Friday, and any wildfire that ignites could become a conflagration that’s difficult to stop.

Updated 11 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.