Arcing Power Lines Blamed for Sparking California’s Deadly Thomas Fire

The Thomas fire started in Ventura County and scorched hundreds of thousands of acres as it burned into Santa Barbara County

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High winds pushing power lines sparked 2017's deadly Thomas Fire, California's second largest wildfire, officials said Wednesday.

The wind caused power lines to touch, creating an electrical arc that shot out hot, burning molten material onto the ground, according to a news release from the Ventura County Fire Department.

The Thomas Fire, which started Dec. 4, 2017, burned over 40 days, crossed two counties, caused two deaths, destroyed more than 1,000 structures and charred more than 282,000 acres.

NBC4 has reached out to Southern California Edison, which owns the power lines, for comment.

In early 2018, business owners, residents and rancher filed a lawsuit against SoCal Edison, citing negligence.

In Northern California, wind blowing trees into power lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric were blamed for 170 fires that burned 245,000 acres in Northern California in October 2017.

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