Authorities Investigate If Electrical Lines Contributed to California Wildfires

“When the fire comes through, it’s just amazing,” AJ Calderon, a foreman on an avocado and citrus farm in Southern California told the Associated Press about his observation of the Maria Fire in rural Ventura County.  “All the work we do year after year and just a couple of hours, it just wipes it out.”

The Maria Fire has claimed almost 10,000 acres. Evacuation orders have been lifted.

John Grether, the owner of the farm where Calderon works, says he has “probably lost about ten acres” of avocado trees.

Grether said he saw first saw the flames erupt from the foothills, where a power station is located.

Officials say the Maria fire began Thursday on a hilltop northwest of Los Angeles and an electrical line might have been involved. Electrical lines have been involved in other recent fires.

Southern California Edison said it had re-energized a 16,000-volt power line less than 15 minutes before the fire broke out.

The utility said it would  cooperate with investigators.

In Northern California, people continue to return to the area of Sonoma County where the Kincaid Fire burned about 313-square-kilometers, destroying nearly 200 homes.

Authorities do not know what caused the blaze, but Pacific Gas and Electric said it experienced a problem with a transmission tower near the point where the fire started.