Report: California wildfire sparked when tree hit power line


FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2020 file photo, a Pacific Gas and Electric employee sprays water on a burning telephone pole at the Zogg Fire near Ono, Calif. Pacific Gas & Electric is reporting that fire investigators have seized some of its equipment as they investigate the cause of a Northern California wildfire that killed four people last month. PG&E reported the seizure in a filing with the Public Utilities Commission Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. The Zogg Fire erupted in Shasta County during high winds and quickly grew, later spreading to neighboring Tehama County.  (AP Photo/Ethan Swope, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Northern California wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 200 buildings last year was caused when tree branches came into contact with Pacific Gas & Electric power lines, officials said Monday.

Investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection seized equipment belonging to PG&E in the weeks after the Zogg Fire tore through rural communities in Shasta and Tehama counties last September and October.

“After a meticulous and thorough investigation, Cal Fire has determined that the Zogg Fire was caused by a pine tree contacting electrical distribution lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric located north of the community of Igo,” the agency said in a short news release.

PG&E officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Monday.

The Zogg Fire investigative report has been forwarded to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office, Cal Fire said.

The blaze scorched more than 88 square miles.

PG&E, the nation’s largest utility, emerged from bankruptcy stemming from financial fallout from several devastating wildfires caused by its utility equipment that killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings in 2017 and 2018.

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