California’s main power company stated that its teams may have been involved in the outbreak of the recent wildfires.
The company, Pacific Gas & Electric, told the California Public Utilities Commission that its equipment may have been part of the cause of the Dixie wildfire burning in the Sierra Nevada.
PG&E said in a report sent to the Public Utilities Commission Sunday that a technician who responded to a short circuit on July 13 detected blown fuses in a conductor perched on top of a pole, a tree leaning toward the conductor, and fire in the base of the tree.
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The Dixie wildfire has grown to encompass 122 square kilometers (47 square miles), much of it remote wilderness. The company said investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) have collected the equipment from the site.
PG&E teams have repeatedly been linked to large wildfires, like one in 2018 that swept through the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
The Dixie fire is among dozens burning in the western United States.
The destructive Bootleg Fire, one of the largest in modern Oregon history, has already burned more than 1,210 kilometers (476 miles), an area the size of Los Angeles. The fire located just north of the California border was 25% contained.
Forecasters were forecasting dangerous weather conditions for Monday, with the possibility of lightning in California and southern Oregon.
“With very dry fuels, any electrical storm has the potential to start new fires,” tweeted the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California.
Thousands of people have received evacuation orders, including some 2,000 living on rugged terrain between lakes and wildlife refuges near the fire, which has burned at least 67 homes and 100 sheds while threatening many more.