PG&E equipment blamed for 6 fires in the last 8 days

Pacific Gas & Electric equipment has been identified as the cause of the Bethel Island and Oakley fires from over the weekend, the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said on Wednesday. 

These mark the fifth and sixth fires that PG&E is linked to in the last eight days, according to filings with the California Public Utilities Commission. The other fires include the largest one in the state, the Kincade Fire, started last Wednesday when a high-voltage PG&E transmission tower with a broken line was seen shooting off flames, two smaller ones in Lafayette and a house fire in Milpitas. 

Regarding Sunday morning's Bethel Island Fire, the fire department said, "Upon conclusion of the fire investigation, the area of origin was identified under PG&E power lines with a video of the transformer casting sparks to the vegetation below."

The rapidly spreading vegetation fire covered the size of a football field and was wind-whipped during last weekend's storm. 

While that fire was brought under control, a second fire in the area of Bethel Island Road and East Cypress Road in the city of Oakley was reported early Sunday morning at around 5 a.m. The fire cast embers and forced evacuations. 

"PG&E equipment again had a malfunction and cast sparks 200 yards to the South igniting vegetation," the fire department said. 

 The fire was brought under control with no injuries and no structures lost. 

In its report, California Public Utilities Commission, said the Oakley Fire was not in a high risk area.