Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced Tuesday that she has pressed criminal charges against PG&E for the company’s alleged role in starting the Kincade Fire in October 2019.
Ravitch’s complaint, filed at the Sonoma County Superior Court, “alleges that PG&E recklessly caused the fire that started on the night of October 23, 2019 at the Geysers Geothermal Field northeast of Geyserville,” according to a press release. “Specifically, the complaint charges PG&E with 5 felonies and 28 misdemeanors, including unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury, unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of inhabited structures, and unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of forest land, as well as various air pollution crimes.”
In a statement responding to Ravitch’s announcement, PG&E said that “we do not believe there was any crime here. We remain committed to making it right for all those impacted and working to further reduce wildfire risk on our system.”
Last July, Cal Fire announced that, after investigating the start of the Kincade Fire, it had concluded that the fire was caused by a jumper cable on a PG&E transmission tower located at the Geysers Geothermal Field northeast of Geyserville that broke in high winds. Cal Fire sent its report to Ravitch’s office to determine whether or not to press charges against PG&E.
The Kincade Fire burned for 15 days, incinerating 78,000 acres and destroying 374 structures, including 174 homes.