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Judge: California utility PG&E must explain role in Dixie Fire, biggest now blaze burning in U.S.

A federal judge on Friday gave Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest power company, one week to explain its role in potentially starting two fires that have now burned hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern California.

Driving the news: PG&E told the state last month that malfunctions with one of its utility poles may have caused the Dixie Fire, the third-largest blaze in state history and currently the largest fire in the U.S. And U.S. District Judge William Alsup wants to know details.

  • Alsup has also asked PG&E for more information on the Fly Fire, which later merged with the Dixie Fire.

Of note: Alsup oversees PG&Eā€™s safety precautions while the utility remains under criminal probation from 2010 when its natural gas lines destroyed a suburban neighborhood south of San Francisco.

The big picture: Six of the seven largest fires in California's history have occurred since Aug. 2020, according to CalFire.

  • The Dixie Fire now stretches across 446,723 acres, making it the largest single fire ā€” and third largest overall, including fire complexes ā€” in California history.

Go deeper: California wildfire victims sue former PG&E executives for alleged neglect

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