SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge is demanding to know whether PG&E's tree trimming crews tagged the pine tree suspected of starting the Zogg Fire, which killed four people in Shasta County in September.
The Shasta County District Attorney has launched a criminal homicide investigation of PG&E, which is required by state law to trim and remove trees so that they don't strike power lines.
PG&E collected evidence left over by Cal Fire's investigation of the fire, hauling the remaining parts of the tree and several power poles away by helicopter.
The judge supervising PG&E's felony probation is asking whether that same thing happened in the Zogg Fire, demanding to know whether the tree in question, a gray pine, had been marked with spray paint.
PG&E's answer is due December 16.
In a Nov. 18 U.S. District Court filing, the company admitted that the tree "may have been identified for removal (but not removed) during restoration efforts following the Carr Fire in 2018."
Photos provided to the federal judge show the tree appearing to be growing uphill of the power line, leaning in the direction of the wires.
Poor "vegetation management" by PG&E was blamed for starting multiple fatal wildfires that burned in Northern California in 2017.
PG&E already has a rap sheet of felonies for two prior disasters: the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion and the 2018 Camp Fire.