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PG&E avoids criminal charges for role in Dixie, Kincade wildfires

Last year's massive Dixie fire destroyed 963,309 acres.

By Ashley Williams
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An aerial view taken on August 12 shows the devastation caused by the Dixie Fire after it burned through Greenville's historic Gold Rush-era town in California. File Photo courtesy of California Office of Emergency Services
An aerial view taken on August 12 shows the devastation caused by the Dixie Fire after it burned through Greenville's historic Gold Rush-era town in California. File Photo courtesy of California Office of Emergency Services | License Photo

April 11 (UPI) -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company won't be criminally charged for its involvement in igniting the 2019 Kincade fire and the 2021 Dixie fire, a group of California district attorneys announced Monday.

The Kincade fire broke out in late October 2019. It destroyed more than 77,700 acres of vegetation across Sonoma County, Calif., over 13 days. Regulators concluded the fire was sparked by PG&E equipment.

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Last year's massive Dixie fire, the second-largest in California history, ripped through 963,309 acres.

Prosecutors representing the impacted counties of Plumas, Lassen, Tehama, Shasta and Butte settled with PG&E for the company's role in the Dixie wildfire that raged for 103 days, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

As part of the settlement on both cases, the utility has until the summer to pay people initially left homeless in the Dixie fire.

An independent safety monitor may also oversee the company, at the request of the district attorneys in the settlement.

PG&E will have to pay nearly $30 million to organizations and local charities that came to the aid of those directly impacted by the fire.

The company must also keep making expensive improvements in the safety and reliability of its infrastructure in the North State region of California.

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PG&E is required to pay penalties and investigation costs to the district attorneys' offices, and cannot raise raise to cover money lost in the settlement.

In 2020, the company pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2018 Camp Fire in California.

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