Wed, 06 Dec 2023

ROSEMEAD, California: This week, the Washington Post reported that California authorities have determined that a major utility company, Southern California Edison (SCE), is responsible for a 2022 wildfire that killed two people.

Citing an unreleased California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire) document, the newspaper said that on September 5, 2022, a power line managed by SCE, a subsidiary of Edison International, had sagged and hit a communications line below it, causing sparks that ignited nearby vegetation.

The resulting fire burned more than 28,000 acres (11,300 hectares) in Riverside County near the town of Hemet, some 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Los Angeles.

The fire killed two and injured one person.

In response, SCE said it was reviewing the Cal Fire document and stressed that it cooperated with state authorities during their investigation.

SCE spokeswoman Diane Castro said, "Our hearts are with the community and the people who suffered losses in the Fairview Fire."

Power companies are often blamed for causing wildfires by not shutting down transmission grids during high winds, which can knock down electrified lines and ignite vegetation.

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