California Utility Equipment May Be Linked to Dixie Fire

(AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric equipment may have been involved in the start of the big Dixie Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada, the nation’s largest utility reported to California regulators.

PG&E said in a report Sunday to the California Public Utilities Commission that a repairman responding to a circuit outage on July 13 spotted blown fuses in a conductor atop a pole, a tree leaning into the conductor and fire at the base of the tree.

The Dixie Fire has grown to nearly 47 square miles (122 square kilometers), largely in remote wilderness. The utility said investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have collected equipment from the location.

PG&E equipment has repeatedly been linked to major wildfires, including a 2018 fire that ravaged the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

The Dixie Fire is among dozens burning in the parched West.

Overall, about 70 active large fires and complexes of multiple blazes have burned nearly 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers) in the U.S., the National Interagency Fire Center said. The U.S. Forest Service said at least 16 major fires were burning in the Pacific Northwest alone.

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