Northern California Wildfires
The Atlas and Tubbs fires in Napa and Sonoma counties left behind completely decimated neighborhoods. The Northern California wildfires killed 42 people, destroyed more than 8,000 buildings, and scorched more than 240,000 acres. California’s insurance commissioner estimated that losses from the disaster exceeded $1 billion.
It took more than three weeks for firefighters to completely contain the Atlas and Tubbs fires. Now, survivors face the long recovery and rebuilding process.
Fire damage can be overwhelming—especially when it results in complete property losses. However, there are concrete steps you should take to repair your home, replace your property, and file your insurance claims after a wildfire. Download our free wildfire recovery checklist below.
If you were injured or suffered damages as a result of the fires, you have the right to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Contact us to learn more about your legal options.
Poorly Maintained Power Lines Pose Wildfire Risk
Some of the most destructive Californian wildfires have been attributed to damaged power lines.
On October 8th, Sonoma County dispatchers responded to 10 different reports of downed power lines, exploding electrical transformers, and sparking wires over a 90-minute period. Strong winds in excess of 75 mph that night and early the following morning were no match for the drought-damaged trees and new vegetation that PG&E allegedly failed to clear from their power lines.
Improperly maintained power lines only account for about 3 percent of wildfires, but the fires they do cause are usually among the most destructive since lines are located in remote and windy terrain. Some of the most destructive Californian wildfires in the last decade have now been attributed to damaged power lines.
Cox Communications and San Diego Gas & Electric were found to be responsible for three wildfires that swept San Diego County in 2007. The Guejito, Witch, and Rice fires scorched 207,000 acres, destroyed 1,141 homes, and killed two people. Investigators determined that the fires were caused by a felled tree branch on a power line, and a damaged power line coming in contact with a conductor.
Under California Public Resource Codes, utility companies are required to maintain specified clearances between trees and vegetation and power lines in mountainous, forest-covered, brush-covered, or grass-covered lands.
PG&E Faces More Than 1,000 Lawsuits for 2015 Wildfire
PG&E was fined $8.3 million for their failure to properly maintain a power line that sparked and caused the 2015 Butte Fire.
This isn’t the first time that PG&E’s negligent actions have been linked to California wildfires.
In April of 2017, the utility company was fined $8.3 million for their failure to properly maintain a power line that sparked and caused the Butte Fire. The September 2015 fire killed two people and destroyed 549 homes in Amador County. The company still faces more than 1,000 lawsuits for the Butte Fire. CalFire is also fighting to have the company pay $90 million in firefighting costs.
The 2015 Valley Fire in Lake County, CA has also been linked to PG&E's negligence. It’s the state’s fourth most damaging fire on record, having destroyed nearly 2,000 structures.
Sadly, this isn't a new trend. The utility company was also found guilty of 739 counts of negligence for the 1994 wildfire near Rough and Ready, a town in the Sierra foothills. They were fined nearly $30 million by state regulators.
Who is eligible for a lawsuit?
If you meet at least one of the following criteria, you may be eligible for a lawsuit:
- You were injured by the fires.
- Your house was damaged by the fires.
- Your business was damaged by the fires.
Why File a Lawsuit?
A lawsuit can provide the financial means to help you rebuild after a catastrophic loss like this. A lawsuit can provide compensation for the following:
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses (in the event of the loss of a loved one)
Helping Victims to Rebuild
We're fighting to hold utility companies like PG&E accountable for their negligent behavior to ensure a disaster like this doesn’t happen again.
If your home or business was destroyed, or you were injured as a result of the Northern California wildfires, you may be eligible for a lawsuit. Our attorneys have the experience and resources to hold powerful corporations, like PG&E, accountable. We have represented victims of natural disasters throughout the country, including the Porter Ranch gas well blowout and the Calumet lead crisis.
Contact our attorneys today for a free, no-obligation legal review. It costs nothing unless we win a verdict or settlement in your favor.
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