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Shasta, Tehama Counties Announce $12 Million Settlement For 2020 Zogg Fire

Emergency responders at the Zogg Fire southwest of Redding on Sunday night, Sept. 27. The fire destroyed more than 200 structures, including a number of homes. Four people died.
Shasta County Sheriff's Department
Emergency responders at the Zogg Fire southwest of Redding on Sunday night, Sept. 27. The fire destroyed more than 200 structures, including a number of homes. Four people died.

A settlement agreement of more than $12 million in damages from the 2020 Zogg Fire was announced on Wednesday. Attorneys for Shasta and Tehama counties reached the agreement with the utility Pacific Gas and Electric after findings that their equipment sparked the fire.

The $12.36 million settlement was based on damages to public resources caused by the fire on Sept. 27, 2020. It burned approximately 56,338 acres, resulted in four deaths and destroyed 231 buildings. The fire caused evacuations in the communities of Igo, Ono, Platina and Happy Valley.

But Wednesday’s settlement will not affect individual fire victims.

“This is for the county only,” says John Fisk, an attorney with the law firm Baron and Budd, which represented the counties. “So, if somebody’s home burned down, they need to find an attorney and file a suit. If they already have an attorney then they should know that this resolution in no way affects their claims.”

According to an attorney for Shasta County, the settlement will be used to rebuild roads, bridges, culverts and other county property.

An investigation by Cal Fire determined that a pine tree sparked the Zogg Fire after contacting electric transmission lines operated by PG&E. The counties alleged that PG&E didn’t remove the gray pine even after it was identified as a potential hazard to transmission lines during high wind events.

The vast majority of the settlement -- over 99% -- will go to Shasta County. A small amount of the fire passed into Tehama County.

The $12.36 million settlement was part of a bigger settlement announced Wednesday totaling $43.36 million from PG&E that also includes damages from the 2019 Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.

“Local cities and counties are critical to the fabric of our lives, and today’s resolution reflects our commitment to supporting them and all they are doing to rebuild after these two fires,” said PG&E Corporation Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe in a prepared statement.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.