Massive Fire in California
The Dixie fire is now the largest active wildfire to ever start in California. As of August 11, it was only 30% contained after burning 501,008 acres of land. Historic buildings, restaurants, bars, hotels, and homes were among the many structures burned down since the fire first sparked. Evacuation orders went out to over 12,000 people in eight different counties. Some people have been reported missing since evacuations began. Several firefighters also suffered injuries while battling the blaze.
Unfortunately, strong winds and high temperatures have acted as catalysts to keep the fire burning and growing. Although firefighters have been working to reduce the impact it has had on residents and business owners, their efforts haven’t been successful in preventing the fire from spreading throughout the northern part of California. The counties of Lassen, Plumas, Tehama, and Butte are all under threat.
What Caused the Dixie Fire and Fly Fire?
Equipment used by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) may be responsible for igniting fires that eventually grew into the destructive Dixie and Fly wildfires. A report released by the utility company on July 18 stated that its outage system indicated that the Cresta Dam in Feather River Canyon lost power on July 13.
An employee responded to the alert and thought he saw a blown fuse from a distance. Unfortunately, he could not reach the fuse until much later in the day due to a bridge closure and challenging terrain. Once he arrived at the site of the outage, he discovered three fuses had blown, and a fire had started in the area. He also noticed a tree leaning against a conductor.
Although Cal Fire responded by dropping water and retardant, the fire grew from one to two acres to around ten to fifteen acres that evening.
Judge Orders Complete Report from PG&E Regarding Wildfires
After Greenville suffered significant destruction from the Dixie fire, a federal judge ordered PG&E to detail its involvement in causing the fire with a complete report. The judge also ordered additional reports on every fire that the utility company believed to have started during the 2021 wildfire season. There was also a request for information about the tree that fell on the power line where the fire began.
Seeking Compensation from PG&E
Unfortunately, some insurance companies don’t cover fire damage. Others will compensate you for damage to any structures and personal property but not for vegetation, landscaping, or evacuation costs. Even if your policy does provide compensation for certain losses, the coverage you have might not be enough for every expense you incurred.
FEMA has granted assistance to those affected by the Dixie and Fly wildfires, and you might be able to use those resources to recoup some of your costs. You might also be able to file a lawsuit against the utility company if investigations determine they were at fault for the wildfire. You must meet specific criteria, and the amount of compensation you receive will likely depend on the number of people in your household.
The two main criteria for recovering compensation are:
Property damage – This involves the fire touching anything on your property, including your home, landscaping, vehicles, animals, and personal belongings.
Evacuation – You could recover the costs you incurred from evacuating your home even if the fire didn’t cause any damage to your property.
When you file your lawsuit, you might be able to pursue compensation for the multiple losses you suffered, such as:
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Losses to your business
- Evacuation expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Harm to pets or livestock
- Cost to replace or repair damage to your personal property and home
You deserve adequate compensation for your costs and emotional pain. If you attempt to handle your case alone, you will likely walk away without the money you deserve or much less than you’re entitled to recover. An experienced lawyer can provide the representation you need to hold the utility company accountable for its actions and achieve a favorable outcome.