Yesterday, the County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa, Town of Windsor, City of Cloverdale, and City of Healdsburg announce a collective $31 million settlement with PG&E for public and natural resource injuries and damages caused by the 2019 Kincade Fire, which started Oct. 23, 2019 and burned approximately 77,758 acres, destroying 374 structures.
In July 2020, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that its investigation determined that PG&E equipment was the cause of the Kincade Fire. In April 2021, the Sonoma County District Attorney filed criminal charges against PG&E over the 2019 Kincade Fire, which forced nearly 200,000 residents to leave their homes in the largest evacuation effort in Sonoma County history.
“The county and the cities worked together to recover these significant funds to reimburse public and natural resources lost in the fire,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins. “Holding PG&E accountable becomes increasingly important as utility-caused wildfires continue to ravage the state and region.”
The largest portion of the $31 million is attributable to damages suffered by the County of Sonoma as the fire ripped through its unincorporated areas. The public entities’ civil legal damages included ecological damages, staff and labor time, damage to pavement and roads, lost revenue, and increased expenses caused by the Kincade Fire. The funds will be allocated among the cities and county in a manner that is proportional to the damages each agency experienced.
For more information, please contact Baron & Budd Attorney John Fiske at Fiske@BaronBudd.com, who represented the public entities in the litigation.