Watch CBS News

PG&E sued by El Dorado and Placer counties over destructive Mosquito Fire

California's wildfire risk map updated after 15 years
California's wildfire risk map updated after 15 years 02:54

SAN FRANCISCO – A lawsuit was filed against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. by two counties seeking damages following last year's massive Mosquito Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

El Dorado County and Placer County, along with the El Dorado Water Agency, Georgetown Divide Public Utilities District, and Georgetown Divide Fire Protection District, filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday.

The plaintiffs allege that PG&E's equipment was the cause and origin of the fire, which broke out on September 6 near the community of Foresthill.

"The lawsuit seeks to hold PG&E accountable and to help our community rebuild after this devastating fire," El Dorado County counsel David Livingston said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Placer County counsel Karin Schwab said, "Placer County's lawsuit seeks to recover taxpayer resources lost in the fire."

Burning for 50 days, the Mosquito Fire scorched 76,788 acres in Placer and El Dorado counties, predominantly in the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests. More than 11,000 people were evacuated and more than 3,700 firefighting personnel responded.

The lawsuit comes as PG&E faces other legal action over massive wildfires that broke out in California in recent years. 

Earlier this week, the utility reached a $24 million settlement with public entities over the Dixie Fire, which burned more than 960,000 acres in five counties in 2021. Investigators with Cal Fire determined that the fire was started when a tree came into contact with PG&E distribution lines.

On Wednesday, a preliminary hearing was held in PG&E's criminal case over the Zogg Fire, a 2020 blaze in Shasta County that killed four people, burned more than 56,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of buildings. The utility has pleaded not guilty to 31 criminal counts and enhancements, including four counts of manslaughter.

Cal Fire said the Zogg Fire was sparked when a tree fell on a PG&E line. The utility said Wednesday that it accepts the agency's findings but does not believe it committed any crimes.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.