SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — PG&E and its contractors have agreed to pay $50.5 million to settle Department of Justice allegations that the utility was responsible for two wildfires that scorched 18,000 acres of national forest land in Northern California.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Sacramento announced the settlement Thursday.
DOJ alleged in a lawsuit that a dropped cigarette lit by a work crew hired by a PG&E contractor ignited a 2004 fire that burned 13,000 acres of the El Dorado National Forest for 17 days in 2004. The utility and VCS Sub Inc. denied responsibility in settling.
PG&E also settled a second lawsuit alleging the utility’s transmission lines were too close to a pine tree and ignited a 2008 blaze that torched 5,000 acres in Mendocino National Forest.
PG&E denies wrongdoing that case.
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