The Reason for California’s 2018 Wildfire

Bryana Sirisute-Popejoy, Social-Media-Manager

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On November 8th, 2018, a massive wildfire ignited in Butte County, California. Better known as the Camp Fire wildfire, the cause of the inferno was unknown, until investigators of the fire had blamed an electrical company for the cause.

The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history to date. It was also one of the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet Fire, another deadly fire that had happened back in 1918. The wildfire caused 85 deaths, and covered an area of over 153,000 acres and destroyed over 18,000 structures.

 

An image of the fire. (Courtesy of Wired)

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is the State of California’s agency that is responsible for the fire protection in state responsibility areas of California, as well as the administration of the state’s private as well as public forests. Investigators of Cal Fire say that the disastrous wildfire was caused by the transmission electrical lines that were owned by PG&E. Pacific Gas & Electric, or PG&E, is an electrical company that provides electric service and natural gas throughout a 70000-square mile service area in California.

 

PG&E

Cal Fire had said that after a “very meticulous and thorough” investigation, they had determined that the Camp Fire was caused by the electrical company’s transmission lines. They had also determined that there were two ignition points. Although PG&E were to blame for the fire, there was another issue that may have helped spread the fire, which was the vegetation that had grown in the area. Winds may have also helped spread the fire more.

The aftermath of the wildfire. (Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle)

Although the Camp Fire was just last year, and was found out to be caused by PG&E, The company had been criticised before for not doing enough to reduce the risk of fires that were started by its’ electrical networks. In addition, PG&E recorded a $1 billion for liability from wildfires that were caused back in 2017.

If the companies that have risky and faulty electrical networks, it can cause damage to the environment and make a long-lasting impact in the future. Not only that, the communities that consist of many people, like kids and adults, will also be affected by the result. The faulty electrical lines that had caused the wildfire may cause more problems in the future if we don’t make a change soon or fix these problems, they can likely cause more damage in the future.