- 36,523 acres were burned
- 545 structures were completely burned; 43 structures were badly burned
- The property cost was well in the billions of dollars
THE CAUSE OF THE WILDFIRE
As of this writing (December 2018), a final determination as to the cause of the wildfire has not been declared, but as the report above indicates, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has been implicated.
CAL FIRE took possession of pieces of PG&E equipment that were in the ignition zone, as well as tree branches. This fire and PG&E’s responsibility comes after an official determination that the company was to blame for the Butte Fire in 2015.
Similar to 2018’s Camp Fire, there were reports of PG&E equipment failure, downed lines, and trees moments before the fire was reported. As with the Butte and the Camp Fires, more PG&E equipment failed almost instantly, with downed lines and exploding transformers throughout the region, even in areas where the fire hadn’t established itself yet.
The Community Foundation of Mendocino County has put a video up on their website.
The video shows the near total devastation, with homes razed, cars as only metal hulls, and entire neighborhoods completely wiped out.
As the one-year anniversary arrived in Mendocino County, the residents who remained were watching as other parts of the state were burning with the terrifying smell of smoke in the air, the nightmares of children, and dozens of residents still living in FEMA trailers as they try to figure out how to rebuild their lives.
The bodies will heal. The homes will be rebuilt. The emotional scars of the children are likely to affect them for decades to come.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE FIRE
There are several steps to take to protect yourself and recover if you’re one of those devastated by this man-made disaster.
Your home: As you rebuild or if you were fortunate enough not to have lost your home, be sure to have the grounds and surrounding areas checked for hazards. Mud slides, flooding, and other water-related events are the ironic aftermath of these fires. Also, have inspectors look for chemical hazards as many of life’s modern conveniences can turn into deadly messes after a fire.
Your family: Counseling is available for victims of this event. Speak to county mental health officials. Young children and those who might take this harder than others should receive counseling, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms now. The effects of this type of trauma can manifest years later when the connection has become tenuous.
Your financial health: Laws firms, like Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott trial lawyers, are helping the residents affected by the Redwood Complex Fire to get compensation from PG&E. The utility has allowed decades of neglect to destroy their power infrastructure, so they can post profits for investors. If PG&E is found to be at fault for the fire or if their neglect contributed to worsening the fire, Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott will hold them accountable on behalf of the people of Mendocino County.
If you were impacted by these fires and wish to discuss your legal options, please call us at (619) 771-3473. Additional information can be found online at www.ssmsjustice.com