San Francisco: The devastating 2017 California wildfire, dubbed as the second worst in the American state’s history, was caused due to power lines coming into contact because of high winds, officials said.
The Thomas Fire, in December 2017, burned about 1,140 square km in total in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and destroyed more than 1,000 structures in nearly 40 days, reports Xinhua news agency.
Two lives were lost in the fire, including 32-year-old firefighter Cory Iverson. At one point, nearly 9,000 emergency personnel were working against the fire.
It became the largest wildfire ever recorded in California at the time, only to be exceeded months later by the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018.
“A high wind event caused the power lines to come into contact with each other, creating an electrical arc. The electrical arc deposited hot, burning or molten material onto the ground, in a receptive fuel bed, causing the fire… The power line in question is owned by Southern California Edison (SCE),” the Ventura County Fire Department said on Wednesday.
The SCE, one of the largest electric utilities in the US, issued a statement later Wednesday, questioning the investigation report.
“Notwithstanding today’s report, a final determination on cause and responsibility will only be made through the legal process,” said the SCE.
Several lawsuits have been filed by residents against the SCE regarding the wildfires.