A 2018 wildfire that killed three and destroyed more than 1,600 structures in California was sparked by Southern California Edison’s utility equipment in fierce winds, according to a redacted investigative report determining the origin of the fire.
“The Investigation Team (IT) determined electrical equipment associated with the Big Rock 16kV circuit, owned and operated by Southern California Edison (SCE), was the cause of the Woolsey Fire,” the report stated. Under strong winds, a guy wire on a steel pole connected with an energized conductor, causing “heated material” to fall on vegetation “thereby causing the Woolsey Fire,” it states.
A “communication line” that was hooked up to the steel pole also was energized and a second fire was reported about a quarter of a mile away underneath the communication line, the report states. The two fires merged to become the Woolsey fire, the report says.