Deadly fire that leveled Paradise caused by PG&E power lines, investigators conclude

Paradise California. California fire authorities say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked the most destructive wildfire in state history in Paradise

Paradise California. California fire authorities say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked the most destructive wildfire in state history in Paradise

Dry vegetation, strong winds and low humidity strengthened the fire, causing "extreme rates of spread" that ravaged the nearby communities of Concow, Paradise and Magalia.

Wednesday, after completing what they described as a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CAL Fire officials say the Camp Fire was triggered in part by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) in the Pulga area of Butte County in the early morning hours of November 8, 2018.

The wind-driven blaze, dubbed the Camp Fire, erupted in the drought-parched Sierra foothills 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco in November 2018 and raced with little warning through the town of Paradise, incinerating much of that community.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson testifies before the state Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee in Sacramento on May 15, 2019.

CAL FIRE investigators were immediately dispatched to the Camp Fire and began working to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

The utility, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, had said in February it was "probable" that one of its transmission lines sparked the blaze.

The 2018 Camp Fire is the deadliest fire in California history with a death toll of 85 plus almost 19,000 homes and businesses destroyed.

The suit also alleges that PG&E had planned to de-energize power lines as a precaution against starting a fire but canceled those plans despite windy conditions. The company was supposed to present its reorganization plan by the end of May, however, it recently asked for a six-month extension. He said the utility's request continues to show it lacks an urgent focus on improving safety.

The fire, which would be known as the most destructive in the state's history, burned a total of 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 structures.

The nation's largest utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January as it faced tens of billions of dollars in potential liability costs related to wildfires in 2017 and 2018, according to The Associated Press.