Massive Valley Fire last year blamed on faulty electrical wiring

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SACRAMENTO (KTVU) -- The Valley Fire, linked to four deaths and the destruction of over 1,300 homes and acres across several northern California counties last year, was blamed on faulty electrical wiring, authorities said Wednesday.

During a news conference, Cal Fire officials attributed the fire to the faulty wiring of a hot tub on a porch in a mountain community of Cobb, which is about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Investigators said a spark from melted copper ignited dry grass in the area before spreading to three other counties.

The fire started on September 12, 2015 and burned over 76,000 acres across Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties. The massive blaze is said to be the third most destructive wildfire in the state's history. 

At the height of the blaze, mandatory evacuations were ordered for tens of thousands of residents, nearly 2,000 structures in the area were destroyed and some firefighters were hurt while battling the fire. 

Damage estimates are said to exceed $1.5 billion and is one of the costliest fires in the state's history.

According to a report in the SF Gate, the victims who lost their lives in the fire have been identified as: Barbara McWilliams, 72, of Anderson Springs; Leonard Neft, 69, of Anderson Springs; Bruce Beven Burns, 65, of Hidden Valley Lake; and Robert Taylor Fletcher, 66, of Cobb.

Almost a year later, several residents in Lake County still do not have permanent homes.