State officials said tree branches were set on fire after coming into contact with Pacific Gas & Electric power lines, sparking a massive wildfire that killed four people and burned down more than 200 buildings last year.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection investigators determined the cause of the Zogg fire last year to be a pine tree hitting PG&E’s electrical distribution lines, said the agency on Monday.
Cal Fire said they forwarded the report of the investigations to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.
On September 27, 2020, the Zogg fire burned through Shasta County due to high winds. It spread quickly and resulted in the death of four residents in Igo. Later, it reached Tehama County, burning through more than 88 sq miles and destroying 204 buildings, about half of which were residential homes.
PG&E is the largest utility agency in the United States and got out of bankruptcy after suffering financially due to multiple wildfires caused by its own equipment in the past few years. The resulting fires killed more than 100 residents and led to the destruction of more than 27,000 residential homes and other buildings in 2017 and 2018, The Guardian reported.
Last year, PG&E CEO Bill Johnson entered a guilty plea on behalf of the company for 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter. He admitted that the company’s utility equipment was responsible for starting the Camp fire which devastated Paradise town in Northern California in November 2018.