The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has taken possession of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s equipment as part of the agency’s ongoing investigation into the cause of the Zogg Fire, the utility said on Friday.

Watch the Zogg Fire approach a weather cam in Rainbow Lake



The Zogg Fire started just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, at Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane. Four people died as a result of the fire and two inmate firefighters were injured.

Nothing is known about how or what started the fire, which burned 56,338 acres. Cal Fire’s investigation into the cause continues. The fire was 95% contained as of Saturday morning.

“PG&E today filed an Electric Incident Report (EIR) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) when PG&E learned that CAL FIRE had taken possession of PG&E equipment as part of CAL FIRE’s investigation into the cause of the Zogg Fire in Shasta County. The information in our EIR is preliminary. CAL FIRE’s investigation is ongoing, and we are cooperating fully,” the utility said in a statement.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Pacific Gas and Electric crews respond to the Zogg Fire along Placer Road on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

© Mike Chapman/Record Searchlight
Pacific Gas and Electric crews respond to the Zogg Fire along Placer Road on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

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Load Error

In the report summary, PG&E states that on Sept. 27, “a PG&E SmartMeter and a line recloser serving that area reported alarms and other activity between approximately 2:40 p.m. and 3:06 p.m., when the line recloser de-energized that portion of the circuit. The data currently available to PG&E do not establish the causes of the activity on the Girvan 1101 circuit or the locations of these causes.”

Winds were blowing in excess of 30 mph that Sunday, but the area was not included in the PG&E’s public safety power shutoff that had been implemented in other parts of Shasta County that weekend, the utility has said.

Zogg Mine Road had been closed since the day of the fire, but authorities lifted evacuations and the road closure at 5 p.m. Friday to let residents enter for a 24-hour period.

In a press release issued the day after the fire started, PG&E said it did not appear the utility’s operations were related to the Zogg Fire or Glass Fire northeast of Santa Rosa.

“PG&E has not filed an Electric Incident Report related to these fires, and has no information indicating that the Glass or Zogg fire ignitions could be attributable to its facilities,” the Sept. 28 press release stated.

PG&E implements “public safety power shutoffs” during high wind events when the weather is hot and dry. Eleven of the 12 PSPS events have occurred since the Camp Fire, which was sparked by the company’s faulty equipment and mostly destroyed the town of Paradise.

Cal Fire determined one of the utility’s power transmission lines failed during a high wind event on Nov. 8, 2018, and ignited the Camp Fire. The fire is responsible for the deaths of 85 people, destroying about 19,000 buildings and burning more than 153,000 acres in Butte County.

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David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Cal Fire takes possession of PG&E equipment as Zogg Fire investigation continues

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