Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) semble avoir une fois de plus contribué à déclencher un incendie de forêt mortel en Californie, contribuant au carnage dans l'État américain le plus peuplé pour la quatrième année consécutive, selon un rapport publié sur son site Internet. </p><div><p>Les documents publiés sur le site Web de l'utilitaire lundi et déposés auprès de la California Public Utilities Commission indiquent qu'un employé de PG&E a vu <em>« des fusibles grillés dans un conducteur au sommet d'un poteau, un arbre penché dans le conducteur et un feu à la base de l'arbre »</em> lorsqu'il a répondu à une panne de circuit signalée vers 7 heures du matin, heure locale, mardi dernier. On pense que le problème d'équipement a contribué au début de l'incendie de Dixie à Feather River Canyon, un incendie dévastateur qui n'est encore contenu qu'à 15 %.
Unable to access the pole until nearly 12 hours after the fire was first noted, due to “Difficult terrain and road works leading to the closure of a bridge”, the employee reported that upon returning to the site at approximately 4:40 p.m. local time, he encountered “A fire on the ground near the base of the tree” plus “Two of the three fuses blew and what appeared to him to be a healthy green tree hunched over the 12kV Bucks Creek 1101 conductor, which was still intact and hanging from the poles,” according to the report.
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It was only then that the worker called his supervisor – who subsequently called 911. Given PG&E’s appalling track record in forest fire response (particularly those related to its equipment), it may not come as a surprise that the utility waited five days – rather than the required two for four hours – to report the incipient fire to the state regulatory agency .
The Dixie fire has already consumed more than 30,000 acres on Monday and continues to force evacuations in Plumas and Butte counties. PG&E systems reportedly showed an outage near the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon area where the fire started. Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect at High Lakes, Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley in Plumas County; Jonesville and Philbrook in Butte County are also under evacuation orders. Cal Fire reported on Monday that 800 structures remained at risk.
PG&E has become famous for the apparent contributions of its dysfunctional equipment to the increasingly devastating forest fires plaguing the region. PG&E equipment has been connected to at least one wildfire every year for the past four years, starting with the deadly campfire of 2018.
The public service pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of manslaughter, each count representing a life lost in the camp fire. The deadly blaze began in October in the town of Pulga, eventually engulfing 140,000 acres aided by high winds and low humidity. Some 8,700 homes were destroyed and tens of thousands forced to evacuate, while even those whose homes were spared from destruction were unable to leave due to extremely poor air quality. The worst wildfire in California history, Camp Fire killed 85 people and virtually wiped out the town of Paradise.
The judgment threw PG&E into bankruptcy from which it finally emerged last year, with a pledge to compensate fire victims for all damage not covered by their insurance – a sum of $ 13.5 billion. of dollars which will be partially paid in shares of the company.
Last year, PG&E equipment was found to be partially responsible for the Zogg fire in Shasta County. The company is still under criminal investigation into that blaze and was forced to pay local governments $ 43 million for this blaze and the previous year’s Kincade blaze in Sonoma County. The utility still faces lawsuits in Sonoma County for the 2019 fire.
If PG&E continued to perform not only poor but criminal, the public service could eventually be taken over by the state, although the California Utilities Commission requires the company to go through six “levels” of its service first. so-called enhanced surveillance program. PG&E is already in the front row, having been nailed for the shoddy work it has done to clean tree branches and other kindling from its riskiest rows since November, and has pledged to spend $ 4.9 billion to “Forest fire safety” this year.
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His promise to ” do better “ after four years of contributing to the devastating losses suffered by Californian residents was made as a condition for coming out of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, company officials have tried to blame the drought and climate change, instead of taking responsibility.
PG&E has also outraged and alienated customers by cutting off power during peak hours for hundreds of thousands of people, hoping to prevent sparks known to start wildfires over fears high winds could completely overturn power lines.
A CPUC investigation accused the usefulness of not having even a rudimentary security strategy, noting that it only does “Positive changes” when forced to do so by serious accidents like fires and explosions. The CPUC report itself was released seven years after a gas pipeline explosion in 2010, which killed eight people and uncovered poor and even criminal business practices, such as overcharging customers, under -use of maintenance expenses and, in general, profit over everything – including but not limited to safety.
This year’s fire season is already set to be particularly devastating, with expectations that it will be longer, drier and riskier than in previous years, even as PG&E struggles to repair its decaying infrastructure.
More than 158,000 acres of northern California forest have burned so far this season, including the Tamarack fire, which reached 23,000 acres as of Monday morning and remains fully unconfined. It was reportedly ignited by lightning earlier this month, and local firefighters made the questionable decision not to send fire crews. “Due to security concerns”, leaving Alpine County Sheriff Rick Stephens to explain the bizarre response to local residents who are now at risk of losing their homes in hell. The fire at the Beckwourth complex burned more than 105,000 acres on Monday and is 82 percent under control.
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