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Report: Power Lines Sparked 2 Northern California Wildfires

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio/File

A telephone pole.

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio/File

(AP) - Investigators have determined that power lines buffeted by heavy winds ignited at least two small fires the night of Oct. 8 in Northern California neighborhoods.

The Press Democrat reported Saturday that the findings by the Santa Rosa Fire Department are the first public reports into what caused some of the dozens of blazes that erupted that night and became the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history.

The investigation focused on two lesser-known fires that burned separately from the large blazes that swept across the region, destroying 6,200 homes and claiming 40 lives.

In both cases - a fire that destroyed two homes and another that damaged an outbuilding - investigators ruled that winds caused PG&E power lines to arc, throw sparks and set fire to vegetation.

The reports come as parallel state investigations continue.

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