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Outdoor Fires – Large-scale Fire Disasters and Wildfires in Suburban & Rural Areas
Fires outdoors can spread quickly, destroying wild habitats and farmland, and even homes and businesses. In particular, as new homes are increasingly built on the edge of urban areas where human communities meet natural wildland, the threat of outdoor fires grows.
Fires that occur where structures and homes border undeveloped land are especially vulnerable due to the natural vegetative fuel that accumulates each year and the lack of access to water supplies.
How Do Wildfires Start?
Wildland-urban interface fires often result from the negligence of utility companies in failing to properly maintain power lines and adjacent vegetation. Thus, outdoor fires are often the direct result of another’s negligence or failure to act.
For example, in October 2007 there were a series of outdoor fires in Southern California which were believed to have been caused by poorly-maintained power lines.
This lawsuit alleges that the utilities negligently failed to maintain their power lines sufficiently to prevent the sparking, which the plaintiffs claim the utilities knew or should have known that their lines were not designed to withstand the powerful Santa Ana winds that hit the county beginning October 21, 2007.
In November 2007, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, preliminarily said the fires were caused by power lines owned and maintained by the utility.
More recently, the Sesnon fire near Porter Ranch, California, began on Monday October 13, 2008, when an electrical line fell into dry brush in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County. Due to alleged negligence or poor maintenance by the utility company, the power line sparked and caught fire on dry brush that normally accumulates during the fire season. 2,044 firefighters from around the state were working to contain the fire which burned at least 18,000 acres from the San Fernando Valley to the edge of Simi Valley.