Jul. 21—Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executives committed Wednesday to move 10,000 miles of the utility's power lines underground, a daunting and expensive task for the embattled utility that's just emerging from bankruptcy after it was held responsible for some of
The announcement came at a press conference in
At the press conference,
"We were going to make this announcement in a couple of months when we had a little more meat on the bones," Poppe told reporters. "But we couldn't wait, particularly given the proximity to the Dixie Fire and the emotional toll that it has on all of us."
Poppe and other
Utility experts have said in the past that planting power lines underground is one of the most expensive measures that can be taken to improve wildfire safety. In 2019
But Poppe said more lines need to go underground to keep communities safe.
"We start today. We know that this is an extraordinary condition and an extraordinary time. It requires extraordinary solutions and extraordinary thinking and extraordinary people," she said. "Where else but in
Since leaving bankruptcy,
The company has vowed to do better and is spending
While she didn't directly say
"He took the action to attempt to put out that fire and after calling for help, he by himself in the wilderness, made multiple trips," Poppe said.
"Fortunately, he was quickly joined by
She said that section of lines had been inspected for trees growing too close to the lines in recent years, but the tree in question was deemed healthy and far enough away from the lines so it didn't get cut down.
The Dixie Fire has since grown to 85,000 acres, and is only 15 percent contained.
On Wednesday, the fire exploded to the point
In an interview Wednesday,
Ramsey said investigators also are trying to determine who was flying a drone that grounded
"They could have had that fire dead out," he said.
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