Pacific Gas & Electric reported to California utility regulators that its equipment may have been involved in the start of a fire burning in the Sierra Nevada that is threatening hundreds of homes.
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 utility said its system showed around 7 a.m. that the Cresta Dam off Highway 70 had lost power but because of the steep, rough terrain, the worker sent to check it couldn’t reach the area until nearly 5 p.m.
The employee reported the fire to his supervisor who called 911 and the dispatcher said they were aware of the fire and responding. Firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention began dropping water and fire retardant about 5:30 p.m., the utility said.
By that night, the blaze had grown to 10 to 15 acres and firefighting crews on the ground had problems accessing the area, it said.
Cal Fire investigators collected portions of a power line, including the conductor, jumpers, insulators, and fuse cutouts, and parts of the tree.