10/24/19 — The Kincade Fire, which exploded overnight to 10,000 acres this morning, grew an additional 6,000 acres today despite the heroic efforts of 1,300 of firefighters working ’round-the-clock to contain the conflagration. As of this evening the fire has reached 16,000 acres forcing the evacuation of Geyserville, displacing several thousand people and destroying at least 49 structures.
Here is Cal Fire’s evening update on the Kincade Fire:
The fire began late last night in the area of the Geysers power generation facility, a massive series of hydro-thermal power plants criss-crossed by internal power-lines and “third-party” power-lines at least partially owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E had at least partially de-energized distribution lines in the area, but some transmission lines remained energized. The distinction between distribution lines and transmission lines is worth nothing: transmission lines carry large amounts of power at high voltage across long distances, while the distribution lines move that electricity to individual houses and businesses.
According to PG&E at 9:20 p.m. yesterday evening PG&E “…became aware of a transmission level outage on the Geysers #9 Lakeville 230kV line when the line relayed and did not reclose, deenergizing the line.” The utility company issued a statement today and submitted a report to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the circumstances around exactly how the fire started, which is still under investigation by Cal Fire. The full statement can be found below.
Over 2,000 people have been evacuated, and the evacuation center in Healdsburg reached capacity this afternoon. Evacuees are asked to now go to the Santa Rosa Veterans Building in Santa Rosa.
Cal Fire held a press conference this evening concerning the Kincade Fire, you can watch here:
Here’s the full statement from PG&E:
Electric Incident Report Filed with CPUC in Response to Kincade Fire
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed an Electric Incident Report with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) related to the Kincade Fire.
Yesterday by 3 p.m., PG&E had conducted a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) and turned off the power for safety to approximately 27,837 customers in Sonoma County, including Geyserville and the surrounding area. PG&E crews have been on the ground since last night supporting CAL FIRE’s efforts to fight the Kincade Fire and make the area safe.
As part of the PSPS, PG&E distribution lines in these areas were deenergized. Following PG&E’s established PSPS protocols and procedures, transmission lines in these areas remained energized.
Those transmission lines were not deenergized because forecast weather conditions, particularly wind speeds, did not trigger the PSPS protocol. The wind speeds of concern for transmission lines are higher than those for distribution.
PG&E’s report noted that at approximately 9:20 p.m. on October 23, 2019, PG&E became aware of a transmission level outage on the Geysers #9 Lakeville 230kV line when the line relayed and did not reclose, deenergizing the line.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on October 24, 2019, a responding PG&E troubleman patrolling the Geysers #9 Lakeville 230 kV line observed that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) had taped off the area around the base of transmission tower 001/006 in the area of the Kincade Fire.
The transmission tower noted above was inspected earlier this year as part of PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Inspection Program.
On site CAL FIRE personnel brought to the troubleman’s attention what appeared to be a broken jumper on the same tower.
This information is preliminary, and PG&E is continuing to investigate.
Here’s our previous reporting on the fire: