Utility says power lines may have started 2 California fires

The Getty fire burns on Mandeville Canyon Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Monday its power lines may have started two wildfires over the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The fires described in PG&E reports to state regulators match blazes that destroyed a tennis club and forced urgent evacuations in the town of Lafayette, about 22 miles east of San Francisco.

PG&E told the California Public Utilities Commission that a worker responded to the first fire around 4:45 p.m. Sunday and was told firefighters believe contact between a power line and a communication line may have caused it.

A worker went to another fire about an hour later and saw a fallen pole and transformer.

Contra Costa fire Department personnel on site told the worker they were looking at the transformer as a potential ignition source, a company official wrote.

Powerful winds are driving multiple fires across Northern California and forcing power shut-offs intended to prevent downed power lines that can spark blazes. The company says the Lafayette blazes did not begin in areas designated as high risk for wildfire.

PG&E is under severe financial pressure after its equipment has been blamed for a series of destructive wildfires in Northern California over the past three years.

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