Speed Reads

wildfires

Major California utility says it will bury 10,000 miles of power lines underground to help prevent fires

Pacific Gas and Electric, a major California utility, said Wednesday that it will begin the process of burying 10,000 miles worth of power lines underground in areas that are considered high-risk for wildfires.

PG&E's equipment may have sparked the currently blazing Dixie Fire, and the company was found criminally responsible after a faulty electric transmission line ignited the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people, making it the deadliest fire in California's history. 

Moving lines underground has long been recommended as a solution, but it's an expensive one — PG&E has said the process costs $3 million per mile. That said, the company decided it couldn't wait any longer.

Adam Wright, PG&E's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Wednesday that while "undergrounding" is "tried and true" and already exists in California, the latest effort is "truly unprecedented" in terms of scale.