CAL FIRE Investigators Determine Cause of the Camp Fire

The Camp Fire in Butte County, started the morning of November 8, 2018, and burned a total of 153,336 acres, destroying 18,804 structures and resulting in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.

CAL FIRE investigators were immediately dispatched to the Camp Fire and began working to determine the origin and cause of the fire. After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CAL FIRE has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) located in the Pulga area.

The fire started in the early morning hours near the community of Pulga in Butte County. The tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures promoted this fire and caused extreme rates of spread, rapidly burning into Pulga to the east and west into Concow, Paradise, Magalia and the outskirts of east Chico.
The investigation identified a second ignition sight near the intersection of Concow Rd. and Rim Rd. The cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation into electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E. This fire was consumed by the original fire which started earlier near Pulga.
During 2018 there were more than 7,571 wildfires that burned over 1.8 million acres within the state of California.
The Camp Fire investigative report has been forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. For any questions related to the Camp Fire investigation, contact Mike Ramsey at (530) 538-7411 or atmramsey@buttecounty.net or mnoel@buttecounty.net .
Californians must remain vigilant and be prepared for wildfire. For more information on how to be prepared, visit www.readyforwildfire.org or www.fire.ca.gov. CAL FIRE also offers a free Ready for Wildfire app for IPhones and Android phones.

CAL FIRE announced today that it has determined that PG&E electrical transmission lines near Pulga were a cause of the Camp Fire. PG&E accepts this determination.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, and we remain focused on supporting them through the recovery and rebuilding process. We also want to thank the brave first responders who worked tirelessly to save lives, contain the Camp Fire and protect citizens and communities.

While we have not been able to review CAL FIRE’s report, its determination that PG&E transmission lines near the Pulga area ignited the Camp Fire on the morning of November 8, 2018, is consistent with the company’s previous statements. We have not been able to form a conclusion as to whether a second fire ignited as a result of vegetation contact with PG&E electrical distribution lines, as CAL FIRE also determined. PG&E is fully cooperating with all ongoing investigations concerning the Camp Fire.

We remain committed to working together with state agencies and local communities to make our customers and California safer. We are actively working toward this commitment through our comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program, which includes:

  • Real-time monitoring and intelligence
  • Enhanced vegetation management practices
  • Re-inspections of our critical electric infrastructure in high fire-threat areas
  • Building a more resilient electric system
  • Proactively shutting down power based on extreme conditions