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Grapevines burned in the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California. (Photo by George Rose via Getty Images)

The 2017 Tubbs Fire that burned over 36,000 acres and killed more than 20 people in California's Sonoma County was caused by a "private electrical system," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday — a relief for utility PG&E, whose equipment was suspected as having sparked the blaze.

The big picture: A source close to the company tells Axios that the findings of the investigation does not change its plans to file for bankruptcy next week. PG&E said earlier this month it would file for bankruptcy in an effort to shield itself from billions of dollars in potential liability costs related to PG&E's possible role in wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

In a statement to Axios, a spokesperson says the company still faces "significant potential liabilities and a deteriorating financial situation, which was further impaired by the recent credit agency downgrades to below investment grade."

The Tubbs Fire, which devastated the community of Santa Rosa, stood for a short time as the most destructive wildfire in California history. It was eclipsed by the Camp Fire in 2018, which destroyed most of the town of Paradise, killing 86.

Go deeper: The cost of climate change for PG&E is a warning to big business

Go deeper

Job gains slow sharply as U.S. adds 210k jobs in November

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 4.2% from 4.6%.

Why it matters: Job gains slowed sharply, but the labor market recovery remains on track.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.

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