BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – After a thorough investigation, CAL FIRE said the Dixie Fire was caused by a tree contacting electrical distribution lines that are owned and operated by PG&E.
“Pretty frustrating and disheartening,” Dixie Fire survivor Greg Walsh said. “Like I said I had this overwhelming sense, wherever I want to go PG&E is going to burn it up.”
Greg Walsh is a two-time fire survivor.
First, he lost his home in the Camp Fire and then again in the Dixie Fire.
“I lost all the sentimental stuff the first time,” Walsh said. “So, then I was just rebuilding and lost all of that stuff and now I have to do it again.”
There was one thing Walsh knew he couldn’t leave behind as the Dixie Fire raged toward his home in Greenville.
“I grabbed my cat who was a Camp Fire survivor,” Walsh said. “He lived through the Camp Fire. So that was cool. I grabbed him and went.”
Walsh said he wasn’t surprised to find out PG&E is linked to the cause of another fire.
“PG&E negligence and selfishness and greed,” Walsh said. “It is also bad forest management to a certain extent. I mean for a generation. It is complicated but PG&E sure lit a lot of fires.”
Action News Now spoke with Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey about possible criminal charges for PG&E.
“They would be prosecuted, they would first of all be charged with a crime,” Ramsey said. “The crime we are looking at is penal code section 452 that is unlawfully causing a fire to show beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant is that a person or corporation is criminally guilty of causing a fire.”
For Walsh, what comes next is still up in the air.
“I mean honestly I really don’t know,” Walsh said. “The extent of my plan so far is to go back to Quincy, be in the neighborhood, see how it feels, see how the economy is going, and see what their plan is for recovery.”
The Dixie Fire investigative report has been handed over to the Butte County District Attorney’s office and Ramsey said it has started its investigation, but it will take time.
PG&E released a statement saying it is committed to burying ten thousand miles of lines and the tree in question is one of 8 million trees near PG&E power lines.