Dixie Fire PG&E Lawsuit

Dixie Fire PG&E Lawsuit

The Dixie Fire originally started on July 13, 2021, in the Feather River Canyon, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Dixie Fire is the second-largest wildfire in California history and the largest single, non-complex fire. As of Tuesday, August 17, 2021, the Dixie Fire had burned through more than 635,000 acres in Northern California.

The fire has caused hundreds of buildings and residences to burn down in at least four Northern California counties. As the fire continues to rage, law enforcement officers continue to issue evacuation orders almost daily. Authorities were initially expecting to contain the fire by August 20th, but that looks increasingly unlikely.

If you lost your home, business, or other property to the Dixie Fire, then you could be entitled to claim compensation. Though the cause of the Dixie Fire is still under investigation, there is evidence that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) may have contributed to the start of the fire.

If you have been affected by the Dixie Fire, contact our attorneys at Mass Tort Alliance right away. We will review the details of your case, determine whether you can bring a claim, advise you on how much your claim may be worth, and craft a winning legal strategy on your behalf. Contact us online to set up a free consultation.

A Brief History of the Dixie Fire

The Dixie Fire is currently the largest active wildfire in California and the second-largest in history. The Dixie Fire continues to destroy homes, businesses, and even whole towns in Northern California. On August 4, 2021, the Dixie Fire engulfed the city of Greenville, burning through 75% of the town’s existing structures. Tragically, much of Greenville’s famous historic downtown was destroyed in the flames.

On August 5, 2021, the Dixie Fire destroyed another community. This time it engulfed Canyondam, a community near Lake Almanor with a population of 31 at the time of the fire. Almost all of the existing structures in the town were destroyed, including the town’s post office building.

As of Tuesday, August 17, 2021, the Dixie Fire was reported to be 33% contained after burning through a staggering 635,728 acres of Northern California. Many structures in various counties where the fire is currently burning have been destroyed, including historic businesses, restaurants, hotels, bars, and residences. As of August 17th, more than 12,000 people residing in eight different counties have been ordered to evacuate their homes. Sadly, there have been reports of missing persons since the evacuations started. The fire has also caused several firefighters to sustain injuries in the course of their work.

Hot, windy conditions have contributed to the fire’s destructive power and have made it more difficult for firefighters to control the blaze. The fire has continued to spread throughout northern California and has burned structures in four different counties. Those counties include:

  • Plumas County
  • Butte County
  • Lassen County
  • Tehama County

What Caused The Dixie Fire?

Although the initial cause of the Dixie Fire is still under investigation, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey and other local authorities are already indicating that they believe that PG&E is responsible. PG&E has conceded that the fire might have been sparked by a fuse that blew near Cresta Dam.

According to PG&E, a PG&E worker was called to the area to check on a power outage. When the worker arrived, he inspected the area and found that two fuses on some electrical equipment had blown and a small fire was burning nearby. A tree was also found leaning on the equipment, suggesting that perhaps the fallen tree contributed to the blown fuses that sparked the initial fire.

In addition to likely sparking the Dixie Fire, PG&E has conceded that its electrical equipment may have contributed to starting the Fly Fire, which the Dixie Fire has since merged with.

After Greenville was all but destroyed, U.S. District Judge William Alsup requested that PG&E provide the public with more information about the tree that fell onto some of PG&E’s electrical equipment, potentially sparking the fire. Judge Alsup also ordered PG&E to provide information about other fires that the company may have potentially contributed to sparking this year.

What If My Insurance Won’t Cover the Damages?

Sadly, for many people who have lost their residence or their place of business in the Dixie Fire, your insurance policy may refuse to cover the cost of damages, including rebuilding your home and living costs while you are reconstructing. The costs of rebuilding could be astronomical for many homeowners and families, given the rising costs of lumber and building materials, local inflation, and high demand for a limited labor force. Even if your insurance policy agrees to cover some costs, it is possible, likely even, that the costs of rebuilding and paying for living expenses in the meantime will exceed your policy limits.

In recent years, more and more insurance companies have left the state due to a huge influx of claims in light of so many devastating fires. As the global climate shifts and wildfires become more common and more destructive, it may be difficult to get coverage when wildfires strike. Merced Property & Casualty Company, for instance, had to shut down after the Camp Fire due to a massive influx of claims by policyholders. The same could happen with other insurance agencies in the wake of the Dixie Fire, since it is likely that the number of claims will be astronomical.

The California Insurance Guarantee Association is required to pay policyholder claims if your insurance company becomes insolvent due to receiving an exorbitant amount of claims after the Dixie Fire, but the Guarantee Association caps all payments at $500,000, which will not be sufficient for many California home and business owners to rebuild their property in the wake of the fires.

If your insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage, or doesn’t provide sufficient coverage, then you might be able to claim the compensation you need to recover by filing a lawsuit against PG&E. California requires that all energy and utility companies take financial responsibility for any damages that result from their operations. If PG&E’s equipment did indeed start the Dixie Fire, then it is very likely that PG&E will be required to pay for damages incurred by property owners because of the fire.

Who Can File A Lawsuit?

If you lost property or were otherwise affected by the Dixie Fire, then you may be able to file a claim against PG&E for their role in sparking the fire. Any other entities who may have contributed to the fire may also be held liable and be subject to lawsuits. Although the investigation into the source of the Dixie Fire is not yet complete, PG&E will likely be labeled a defendant in upcoming civil litigation.

Compensation You Could Receive

FEMA is assisting victims of the Dixie Fires, and you may be able to recover some of your financial losses using their resources. You may also qualify for a lawsuit against PG&E and any other entities that may have contributed to the fire. To determine your eligibility for a claim, you must meet one of two requirements: property damage and evacuation.

Property damage – If the Dixie Fire affected your property in any way, either in whole or in part, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit against the defendant(s). This includes your home but also other property you own, including cars, boats, farm equipment, other structures, pets, animals, and personal property.

Evacuation – Even if you didn’t lose any property to the Dixie Fire, you could potentially be able to file a claim against the defendant(s) if you were forced to evacuate your home or business due to the fire. You may have incurred costs for living expenses due to the evacuation, and you may be able to recover compensation for those costs.

You may be able to recover compensation for damages including but not limited to:

  • Personal injury
  • Wrongful death
  • Business losses
  • Evacuation expenses
  • Lost earnings due to inability to work
  • Emotional trauma
  • Property damage
  • Harm to pets or farm animals
  • Cost of repairs to your home or property
  • Cost of rebuilding your home or property

In order to claim the full amount of compensation you are entitled to, you need to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Trying to handle your claim on your own may result in you walking away with nothing, or with an inadequate settlement that does not fully cover the costs of the damages you incurred. An attorney will be able to help you craft a winning legal strategy and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact Mass Tort Alliance for a Case Evaluation

If the Dixie Fire has impacted you, you may be able to file a claim against PG&E if the investigation concludes that their equipment did indeed spark the fire. The skilled attorneys at Mass Tort Alliance have the resources and knowledge to help you seek the compensation needed to recover and rebuild in the wake of the Dixie Fire. Contact us online for a free consultation.