In a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E said investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) have taken some of its equipment as part of the ongoing investigation into the Zogg Fire.
“PG&E does not have access to any evidence collected by CAL FIRE,” the company said in its filing. “CAL FIRE has not issued a determination as to cause. PG&E is cooperating with CAL FIRE in its investigation.”
The fire killed four people in the community of Igo and later spread into neighboring Tehama County.
As of Sunday, the blaze is 97% contained and has destroyed more than 200 buildings, more than half of them homes.
In its filing Friday, PG&E said that wildfire camera and satellite data from Sept. 27 show the fire began in the area between 2:43 p.m. and 2:46 p.m.
Customers in the area where the fire started, near Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane north of Igo, are served by a 12,000-volt PG&E circuit.
On the day the fire began, the utility’s automated equipment in the area “reported alarms and other activity between approximately 2:40 p.m. and 3:06 p.m.,” PG&E told regulators. The line was then de-activated.
“The data currently available to PG&E do not establish the causes of the activity on the Girvan 1101 circuit or the locations of these causes,” the company said.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office identified one of the victims of the Zogg Fire as Alaina Michelle Rowe, 45, who was found dead along a road on Sept. 28. The department said another victim was a minor but did not report the identity. KRCR-TV in Redding reported that Rowe and her 8-year-old daughter Feyla died as they tried to escape the fire.
The two other victims are Karin King, 79, who was found on the road where the fire started, and Kenneth Vossen, 52, who suffered serious burns and later died in a hospital.
PG&E, the nation’s largest utility, recently emerged from bankruptcy stemming from financial fallout from several devastating wildfires caused by its utility equipment that killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings in 2017 and 2018.
Wildfires in California have incinerated more than 4 million acres in 2020, a new record. Virtually all the damage has occurred since mid-August when five of the six largest fires in state history erupted. Lightning strikes caused some of the most devastating blazes, with many burning in largely unpopulated land.
The amount of land scorched by the August Complex that’s burned over 1 million acres is larger than all the recorded fires in California between 1932 and 1999.
The wildfires this year have incinerated at least 8,700 structures, many of them homes, from the San Bernardino National Forest east of Los Angeles to Napa Valley and up to the Oregon border. They have also killed 31 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.