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Southern California Edison To Pay $360M Settlement For Thomas, Woolsey Fires

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) -- Southern California Edison has agreed to pay $360 million to settle lawsuits brought by local governments over deadly wildfires sparked by its equipment in the last two years, including one blamed for a mudslide that killed more than 20 people.

Attorneys for counties, cities and public agencies said Wednesday that Southern California Edison agreed to repay taxpayers for firefighting and damage caused by the Thomas Fire in 2017 and the Woolsey Fire last year.

Los Angeles County will receive roughly $62 million from the settlement, officials said.

Other local entities receiving funds from the Woolsey Fire portion of the settlement include the L.A. County Flood Control District, Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County, Ventura County, the Ventura County Watershed Protection District, Ventura County Fire Protection District, city of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, the Conejo Recreation and Park District, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District and the city of Thousand Oaks.

"This settlement is an essential step toward accountability and continued recovery," said L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes most of the Woolsey fire burn area. "While this settlement won't bring back people's homes or businesses, it's very important to hold SCE accountable for the devastation caused by this fire."

The settlement does not include private lawsuits for deaths and destruction in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Officials announced in March that a downed power line owned by Edison was the cause of the devastating 2017 Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which forced thousands of people to evacuate and destroyed a staggering 1,063 structures -- including more than 750 homes – and damaged another 280 more. Firefighting costs topped at least $174 million.

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