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CalFire: PG&E lines, dry vegetation caused Camp Fire, the deadliest fire in California history

And more fires are on the way

Town Of Paradise Wiped Out By The Camp Wildfire Continues Long Struggle To Rebuild
A memorial of wooden crosses line the side of Paradise road in honor of those who lost their lives during the Camp Fire.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Camp Fire in Butte County, which sparked on November 8, 2018 and resulted in the deadliest and most destructive fire in recorded state history, was caused by dry vegetation and electrical lines owned and operated by PG&E, according to an investigation by Cal Fire.

The fire began in the early morning near Pulga in Butte County, which merged with another fire that sparked soon thereafter in nearby Concow.

“The tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures promoted this fire and caused extreme rates of spread, rapidly burning into Pulga to the east and west into Concow, Paradise, Magalia and the outskirts of east Chico,” according to a Cal Fire press release issued Wednesday. “The investigation identified a second ignition sight near the intersection of Concow Road. and Rim Road. The cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation into electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E.”

The blaze torched a total of 153,336 acres, destroying 18,804 structures, and killed 85 people.

The fire agency’s report on the cause of the blaze has been forwarded to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

A new wave of wildfires will most likely incinerate parts of Northern California again this year due to overgrowth of native grasses that will dry out in the coming months.

“Temperatures were cooler than average in early April, but warmer and drier than average weather in place since the middle of April has led to robust growth of fine fuels and brush at elevations below 3,000 feet,” according to an assessment of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) released in May. “This will allow an already heavier than average fine fuel crop to increase.”