Utility Equipment Probed as Possible Cause of California Fires

California fires (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty

Southern California Edison has been informed by authorities that its equipment is being investigated as a possible cause of some of the fires that have raged across the region for the past week.

The Los Angeles Times notes:

“The investigations now include locations beyond those identified last week as the apparent origin of these fires. SCE believes the investigations now include the possible role of its facilities,” the power company said in a statement.

Earlier, the utility had said that based on the apparent origin of the Thomas and Creek fires, “and the performance of SCE’s system, SCE has no indication that the company’s facilities were a source of these fires.”

As a precaution last week, the utility also shut off power temporarily to parts of Riverside County.

Power lines have been accused of being the cause of the fires in the California winelands earlier this year, although that has not yet been proven.

The cause of one fire, the Skirball fire in west Los Angeles, has already been determined to be a cooking fire set in a homeless encampment near the 405 Freeway.

California Governor Jerry Brown has said that climate change is to blame for the fires.

Most of the fires in Southern California have been contained, although one fire, the Thomas fire, is still raging in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, having only been 25% contained, according to National Public Radio.

The fire devastated parts of Ventura and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, though one iconic cross in Ventura remained standing:

The fire is still threatening the coastal towns of Montecito and Carpenteria, which lie along the 101 Freeway near Santa Barbara.

The Times reports that one challenge in Montecito is the presence of lush ornamental vegetation, often planted by celebrities who live in the area to protect the privacy of their homes.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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