SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators proposed on Tuesday fining Pacific Gas & Electric more than $155 million for sparking a 2020 wildfire in Northern California that destroyed 200 homes and left four people dead.
PG&E already faces criminal charges in the Zogg fire, which state fire officials said began when a pine tree in Shasta County fell into a PG&E distribution line. In June, the utility pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter charged by the Shasta County district attorney's office.
The California Public Utilities Commission said in its proposed order that the utility failed to remove two pine trees marked for removal, resulting in one falling. The commission also ordered the utility to submit a corrective action plan to ensure trees marked for removal are logged into a database and removed.
PG&E said in a statement that it has resolved civil claims with Shasta County and is committed to helping the community recover. It is reviewing the proposed order and could request a hearing.
“We share the CPUC’s commitment to improve safety, and we believe any potential financial penalties should be directed for the benefit of our customers, and to keeping our hometowns safe,” the statement read.
The fire burned 88 square miles (228 square kilometers) of land.