California

PG&E power line linked to 2,500-acre wildfire in Monterey County, Cal Fire official says

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PG&E is about to go bankrupt. Will the troubled utility keep the lights on as it finds a resolution of the billions of dollars it faces in potential liabilities from the Camp Fire and the wine country wildfires.
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PG&E is about to go bankrupt. Will the troubled utility keep the lights on as it finds a resolution of the billions of dollars it faces in potential liabilities from the Camp Fire and the wine country wildfires.

A small fire that broke out this week in eastern Monterey County may be linked to a PG&E Corp. power line, state fire officials said Wednesday.

Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Tim Berget said investigators believe the Lonoak Fire, east of King City, is “power line-related” but he gave no further details.

Billions in liabilities from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires drove PG&E into bankruptcy in January and has plunged the utility into a crisis that has consumed lawmakers, regulators, investors and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The fire, which started late Tuesday afternoon, was 100 percent contained as of Wednesday. The fire burned 2,456 acres but didn’t destroy any buildings or hurt anyone, Cal Fire said.

PG&E said in an emailed statement that its crews “worked with first responders to make the situation safe so that they could quickly stop the forward progress of the fire. We can confirm that a line came down, and we are investigating what caused the line to fall.”

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Dale Kasler covers climate change, the environment, economics and the convoluted world of California water. He also covers major enterprise stories for McClatchy’s Western newspapers. He joined The Bee in 1996 from the Des Moines Register and graduated from Northwestern University.

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