Investigators: Official Cause Of The Thomas Fire Was Wind Blown Edison Power Lines

Wednesday March 13, 2019

     Updated--The Ventura County Fire Department has released the official cause of the massive Thomas Fire on the night of December 4, 2017, and it's what everyone has believed for some time, Southern California Edison power lines.

     Investigators say the strong Santa Ana winds that night caused the power lines near Thomas Aquinas College to come in contact with each other causing what's termed a "line snap" and that caused an electrical arc.

    They say the arc deposited hot, burning or molten material onto the ground where it set the vegetation on fire and that started one of the largest wildfires in California history.

   The Thomas Fire burned almost 282,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 structures and killed one firefighter and a civilian.

   It burned for 40 days in Ventura County from Santa Paula to Ventura and around the Ojai Valley and Fillmore before traveling through the Los Padres National Forest and into Santa Barbara County.

   At one point some 9,000 emergency personnel were assigned to the fire from through the western United States.

   In the past, Cal Fire and even Edison indicated there was a second location or "start" to the fire about a half hour after the initial fire started.

   That also included Edison equipment near the Upper Ojai on the other side of Thomas Aquinas College.

   In a statement released today, Edison admits its equipment was involved in the second fire that started along Koenigstein Road in the Upper Ojai, but it still maintains there is no evidence that it's seen indicating Edison equipment started the first fire in Anlauf Canyon east of Thomas Aquinas College.

   In fact, Edison says it provided fire investigators with evidence that contradicts the investigator's conclusions about the first fire but saw no indication in the official report that would suggest it was considered.