PG&E and Sonoma County prosecutors reach agreement to settle Kincade arson charges


Sonoma County prosecutors have reached an agreement to settle their criminal case against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for $20.5 million over the company’s role in starting the 2019 Kincade fire.

The agreement also requires the company to comply with an array of wildfire safety measures.

Also Monday, the company agreed to pay $34.5 million for its role in the Dixie fire last summer.

Kincade’s settlement was submitted Friday to Sonoma County Superior Court Criminal Judge Mark Urioste, and the terms were approved by Civil Court Judge Pat Broderick.

The company has already paid $31 million in damages to Sonoma County and the cities of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Cloverdale and Healdsburg; and $125 million to the state for the Kincade Fire, which was started by faulty equipment and burned more than 77,000 acres.

Nearly two and a half years after the fire, many Sonoma County victims have not received a dime from the company.

In public filings, PG&E disclosed estimated liabilities of up to $800 million from the fire.

According to a press release from the Sonoma County Attorney’s Office, various groups will receive money as part of the settlement.

They include:

Fire Safe Sonoma, which implements the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) to mitigate the threat of wildfires, will receive $1 million.

Conservation Corps North Bay, which provides job training services to young adults in industries such as vegetation management, will also receive $1 million.

Nuestra Communidad, an organization that promotes disaster preparedness for underserved communities, including elderly and monolingual Spanish speakers, will receive $500,000.

Several other nonprofits, including the Council on Aging, Interfaith Shelter Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin and Jameson Humane, an organization supporting rescue preparedness for small and large animals, will each receive $500,000.

Local health clinics including Petaluma Health Center, Jewish Community Free Clinic, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, West County Health Centers, Alexander Valley Health Care will each receive $300,000.

Additionally, the company will fund two programs at Santa Rosa Junior College. The college will receive $5 million to expand the Fire Technology program and $1 million to support SRJC’s vegetation management training program. This funding will allow the SRJC to develop and implement a new program that provides job training for positions in the public and private sectors, including with utility companies.

PG&E will also need to fill at least 80 full-time positions within its Sonoma County operations.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.


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