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A vehicle burned out by the Kincade Fire in Geyserville, Calif. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A California prosecutor on Tuesday filed 33 criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric for the 2019 Kincade Fire, which injured six firefighters, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate.

Driving the news: Cal Fire concluded that the October 2019 fire was caused by a jumper cable on a PG&E transmission tower that broke due to high winds. PG&E on Tuesday acknowledged that its transmission line caused the fire, but the company did not agree that a crime was committed.

Details: The Sonoma County district attorney charged PG&E with five felony and 28 misdemeanor counts, including unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury and unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of inhabited structures.

PG&E said in a statement that "in the spirit of working to do what’s right for the victims, we will accept CAL FIRE’s finding that a PG&E transmission line caused the fire, even though we have not had access to the agency’s report or the evidence it gathered."

  • "However, we do not believe there was any crime here. We remain committed to making it right for all those impacted and working to further reduce wildfire risk on our system.”

The big picture: Last year, the utility company pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in starting the 2018 Camp Fire.

  • The company was fined $4 million, but no one went to prison.
  • "PG&E emerged from bankruptcy protection shortly after those guilty pleas after negotiating a series of settlements to cover the damages caused by its fraying grid," AP noted. Those included a $13.5 billion fund to help victims of wildfires.

The bottom line: "The Sonoma case shows that PG&E, nearly a year removed from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy driven by wildfire liabilities, continues to struggle with fire risk and its legal consequences," the Sacramento Bee wrote.

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.