Cozen O'Connor Subrogation & Recovery: Update on California Fires [Alert]

Update on California Fires

Alert

November 12, 2018

Woolsey Fire

Fire Status Update and Investigation

The Woolsey Fire erupted at approximately 2:24 p.m., on November 8, 2018, near the intersection of E. Street and Alfa Road near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (Rocketdyne Facility) in Simi Valley, Calif. Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Electric Safety Incident Report states that at 2:22 p.m., the Big Rock 16 kV circuit experienced an outage that was recorded at their nearby Chatsworth Substation. The fire burned all the way from the Rocketdyne Facility through the nearby canyons and to the Pacific Ocean. The image below was captured on the first night of the fire as it came over a ridgeline. 
 
Photo courtesy of Howard Maycon
 
The fast-moving fire burned more than 91,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 370 structures over the weekend. At least two civilians perished in the fire. The fire hit the Malibu area particularly hard. More than 170,000 homes are still under mandatory evacuation. Affected ZIP Codes include 93065, 91377, 91302, 91301, 91361, 91362, 92065, 91320 and 91372
 
Slower winds on Saturday allowed fire crews to enforce containment lines and stop the fire from progressing to the nearby Pacific Palisades. Evacuation orders were lifted in nearby Westlake Village and Agoura Hills. The fire is threatening an additional 57,000 structures throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Firefighting efforts were complicated when the Santa Ana winds picked back up on Sunday. Moderate to strong Santa Ana winds are expected to continue through Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Officials warned residents against returning to their homes because the stronger winds might down power lines and fan embers to ignite dry brush. 
 
The cause of the Woolsey Fire is not yet known and is under investigation. Consultants with expertise in wildfire investigation are retained and have been dispatched to the fire scene.
 
Image courtesy of Cal Fire 

Hill Fire

Fire Status and Investigation

The Hill Fire erupted at 2:03 p.m. PST in Newbury Park at the intersection of Hill Canyon Road and Santa Rosa Road. Powerful winds pushed the fire across the canyons to the edge of Camarillo Springs and the campus of California University Channel Islands.
 
Photo courtesy of the Ventura County Fire Department
Fire crews were able to achieve 80 percent containment on the Hill Fire. Cal Fire expects full containment by November 15, 2018. The Hill Fire burned approximately 4,531 acres. The Hill Fire destroyed two structures and damaged two more. No additional structures are threatened by the Hill Fire at this time. Affected ZIP Codes include 93012, 91319, 91320 91360, 91361, 91362, 91358, 91359 and 93010
 
The cause of the Hill Fire is not yet known and is under investigation. Consultants with expertise in wildfire investigation are retained and have been dispatched to the fire scene.
 

Camp Fire

Update

This is an update on the “Camp Fire” that erupted on November 8, 2018, at 6:30 a.m. in the area of Camp Creek Road and Pulga Road near Feather River Canyon in Pulga, Calif. The fire rapidly spread west destroying the town of Paradise, Calif. To date, the Camp Fire has consumed over 110,000 acres, caused 29 deaths with 219 people unaccounted for, destroyed 6,453 homes and structures, and is only 25 percent contained. Paradise’s main hospital, Adventist Health Feather River, was heavily damaged in the fire. In addition, a number of commercial structures including restaurants, schools, and other commercial buildings have been damaged. Firefighting efforts have been hindered by fast-moving winds, dry brush, and low humidity. 
 
The fire’s origin is reported to be at this below location: Coordinates 39.813400 -121.434700; landowner: USFS Plumas National Forest.
 
Image courtesy of Cal Fire
It has been reported that at 6:15 a.m., PG&E had a power outage on their 115 KV line. At 6:29 a.m., a reporting party/witness reported a vegetation fire under transmission lines across from Poe Dam. All of the responding fire units were advised “power lines down.” PG&E filed an incident report regarding incident No. 181108-9002 providing the following summary:
 
On November 8, 2018, at approximately 0615 hours, PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line in Butte County. In the afternoon of November 8, PG&E observed by aerial patrol damage to a transmission tower on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line, approximately one mile north-east of the town of Pulga, in the area of the Camp Fire. This information is preliminary.
 
Cal Fire is leading the firefighting efforts and will lead the cause and origin investigation. Cozen O’Connor has retained investigators who are working to get access to the origin area. At present, there is no access to the fire origin area. Zip codes immediately affected by this fire include 95969, 95965, 95954, 95928, and 95942.
 

Authors

Howard D. Maycon

Chair, Subrogation & Recovery, West Region

hmaycon@cozen.com

(213) 892-7908

Kevin Bush

Vice Chair, Subrogation & Recovery, West Region

kbush@cozen.com

(619) 685-1716

David D. Brisco

Member

dbrisco@cozen.com

(619) 685-1704

Philip J. Berens

Member

pberens@cozen.com

(213) 892-7930

Peter A. Lynch

Member

plynch@cozen.com

(619) 685-1712

Thomas M. Regan

Member

tregan@cozen.com

(619) 685-1757

Related Practices


Please contact Howard Maycon or Mark Roth if you have questions regarding Woolsey and Hill fires or if you require assistance with recovery efforts arising from damages caused by these files.
 
Please contact Tom Regan or Peter Lynch regarding the Camp Fire or if you require assistance with any recovery efforts arising from damages caused by the Camp Fire.