Calaveras County in California is planning to sue Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for its role in the September 2015 Butte Fire, which killed two people and destroyed more than 900 structures.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors said the county intends to recover "millions upon millions of taxpayer losses" from the PG&E Corp. subsidiary, according to a Feb. 13 news release, and has retained the law firm of Baron & Budd and the California Fire Lawyers to initiate litigation against the company.
The county said it "had lost—and will continue to lose—tens of millions of dollars in lost taxpayer funds, damaged infrastructure, fire suppression costs, government employee overtime, emergency response and recovery efforts, injury to natural resources, and other significant losses."
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection determined the fire was caused by a tree coming into contact with a PG&E power line. In April 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission issued an $8.3 million fine to PG&E: $8 million for failing to maintain its 12-kV overhead conductors safely and properly, $250,000 for failing to report in a timely manner to the commission that PG&E's facilities may have been linked to the ignition of the fire, and $50,000 for failing to maintain the minimum 18-inch required clearance between the conductor and tree.