US & World

PG&E power lines sparked 2 Santa Rosa fires

A Cal Fire employee surveys damage caused by the Tubbs Fire in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California on October 13, 2017.
A Cal Fire employee surveys damage caused by the Tubbs Fire in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California on October 13, 2017.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Investigators have determined that power lines buffeted by heavy winds ignited at least two small fires the night of Oct. 8 in Northern California neighborhoods.

The Press Democrat reported Saturday that the findings by the Santa Rosa Fire Department are the first public reports into what caused some of the dozens of blazes that erupted that night and became the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history.

Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California on October 11, 2017.
Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California on October 11, 2017.
ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images

The investigation focused on two lesser-known fires that burned separately from the large blazes that swept across the region, destroying 6,200 homes and claiming 40 lives.

In both cases — a fire that destroyed two homes and another that damaged an outbuilding — investigators ruled that winds caused PG&E power lines to arc, throw sparks and set fire to vegetation.

A message is written on driveway of a Coffey Park home that was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 23, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
A message is written on driveway of a Coffey Park home that was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 23, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The reports come as parallel state investigations continue.