Plumas, Butte, Lassen, Shasta and Tehama counties filed a lawsuit today, Oct. 20, against PG&E for injuries and damages caused by the Dixie Fire, which started on July 13, 2021 and burned 963,276 acres throughout five counties. Over 6,000 fire response personnel were called to battle the blaze that destroyed 1,329 structures, damaged 95 other structures, and killed at least one person. The fire started in Butte County above the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon but spread into all five counties during 95 days of active burning.
The lawsuit, which includes all five counties as co-plaintiffs, was filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, which has heard the cases from the North Bay Fire, the Kincade Fire, and the Zogg Fire. The lawsuit demands legal damages for injuries to public resources, natural resources, lost revenues, increased expenses, lost assets, injuries to infrastructure such as roads and water systems, and other injuries and damages. The Dixie Fire is the largest non-complex fire in California history, and the fire footprint is larger than Rhode Island. The lawsuit alleges PG&E equipment caused the fire.
“Plumas County brings this action to recover public and natural resources lost because PG&E failed to manage and maintain its high voltage infrastructure,” said Plumas County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr. Supervisor Kevin Goss stated, “PG&E must be held accountable for this devastating fire, and we expect PG&E to step up and do the right thing immediately to help our communities rebuild.”
PG&E emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in July 2020 and was called into federal court by Judge Alsup for questioning regarding the cause and origin of the Dixie Fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire is still investigating the cause of the fire, but evidence points to PG&E’s equipment as the ignition source.
Plumas County is represented by Plumas County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr, and outside counsel John Fiske of Baron & Budd and Ed Diab of Dixon Diab & Chambers.