Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Firefighters fighting burning blaze

Camp Wildfire Devastates Over 100,000 Acres, 40,000 Evacuated, PG&E Reports Equipment Flaws in Area

Our thoughts and our hearts go out to our neighbors, colleagues, and friends in northern California, especially those who have lost their lives, homes, and businesses in this newest series of horrific fires.

It is with deep gratitude that we recognize the safety personnel and first responders working tirelessly to bring the fires under control and provide aid during this extremely difficult time throughout the affected areas.

Various news reports indicate that the fire, being called the Camp Fire, broke out early Thursday and has already grown to burn over 80,000 acres in Northern California near Chico, essentially wiping out the town of Paradise and causing at least 40,000 residents to evacuate.

As the fire continues to rage, with only 5% containment, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. today informed Cal Fire regulators that a high-voltage line close to the starting point of the now-huge Camp Fire had experienced a problem and outage just before the first flames appeared. PG&E made a small filing to the California Public Utilities Commission indicating that it had recorded an outage on the line about 20 minutes before the Camp Fire started, approximately 6:15 a.m. Thursday, November 8th.

The filing went on to note that later on Thursday afternoon, PG&E’s aerial observers saw damage to a transmission tower on the affected line. The tower in question lies near one of the smaller towns in the area plagued by the Camp Fire. In a separate statement, PG&E noted that the cause of the Camp Fire is as yet undetermined. The fire’s cause is being investigated by Cal Fire officials.

As noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, “[t]he question of PG&E’s liability has hung over the company since devastating fires broke out last year in Wine Country and other parts of Northern California served by the utility.” The Chronicle’s story also observed that previous state investigations had revealed that PG&E equipment flaws had led to at least 16 fires in Northern California, including reports that the company had violated safety laws in eleven of those fires.

California Lawyers Representing Wildfire Victims

Lieff Cabraser currently represents plaintiffs who suffered losses in the 2017 North Bay Wine Country fires, as well as those who whose homes, businesses, and lives were devastated by the Thomas Fire and mudslides in Southern California in late 2017 and early 2018, in lawsuits against PG&E and Southern California Edison. We are now investigating a wide range of legal claims on behalf of those displaced, injured and otherwise affected by this latest series of fires.

If you have suffered losses from the Southern California wildfires, whether injuries or property or business losses, and would like to consult with a lawyer, please call us today in San Francisco at 415 956-1000 or use the form on this page to send us an email message.