California utility Pacific Gas & Electric has admitted that its equipment may be to blame for a wildfire in Sonoma County wine country that’s torched 49 buildings and triggered evacuation orders for around 2,000 people, the AP reports.
The utility, which was blamed for several major fires in recent years that left dozens dead, has been imposing mass blackouts in an effort to prevent wildfires by broken power lines. But on Thursday, PG&E said a 230,000-volt transmission line near a fire in Geyserville malfunctioned shortly before the blaze. The utility said that on Wednesday night it found a “broken jumper” wire on a transmission tower. PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the company can’t yet say for certain whether the transmission line was to blame for the fire, adding that it had passed four inspections in the last two years.
Meanwhile, firefighters are still battling a blaze in the Santa Clarita area near Los Angeles that has burned at least six homes and prompted evacuation orders for more than 50,000 people.