Forest companies file $225 million lawsuit against utility

The Dixie Fire is the second largest fire in California's history.

Photo By Frank Schulenburg

Seven forestry companies have filed a $225 million lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric alleging that the utility company caused the massive Dixie Fire in California that burned for more than 103 days, destroying nearly 1 million acres of the Sierra Nevada Forest and costing $637.4 million to fight.

The fire caused destruction across multiple counties and was the second-largest fire in California’s history. reported that between Plumas and Tehama County is the Collins Almanor Forest, whose owners recently filed the estimated $225 million lawsuit against PG&E. “That area didn't have any fire issues for about 40 years,” said Butte County Cal Fire Captain Dan Collins told the news station. “You couple that lack of fire history with an area with fuel, topography, and the record drought we were in, it just all hampered the fire fighting effort.”

According to court papers, companies filing claims in the San Francisco Superior Court are Collins Pine Company, CC&H Lands LLC, CCT Lands LLC, Rock Creek Lands LLC, Wespath Forests LLC, E.S. Collins California Trust, and TWC Corporation. The forest management companies own about 94,000 acres, of which the fire burned 55,000.

In January 2024, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a settlement agreement between the CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which penalizes PG&E $45 million for its involvement in the 2021 Dixie Fire.

The 2021 Dixie Fire started on July 13, 2021. It ignited after a Douglas fir tree fell and struck energized conductors owned and operated by PG&E. SED conducted a thorough investigation to determine whether PG&E had violated the Public Utilities Code or any of the CPUC’s rules, regulations, orders, or decisions.

California Assembly Member James Gallagher told local news outlets, “PG&E needs to make sure that these victims are compensated." 


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).