The fire started at 2:26 P.M. on Wednesday, September 9, just east of Jackson, when a tree came into contact with a power line, and quickly grew to over 14,500 acres (59 km2) by that evening. By Thursday, the fire had spread into Calaveras County and more than doubled in size over 32,000 acres (129 km2). Officials stated that the fire was expanding in all directions and that efforts were being hampered by difficult topography.
Early on Friday, September 11, Cal Fire issued a mandatory evacuation for all of San Andreas, as the fire exploded again to 64,000 acres (259 km2), but at 4:30 P.M. PDT, that order was lifted. Officials from the Amador County Unified School District chose to close all schools in the district on Friday as well. Later that day, as the fire continued to grow, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Amador and Calaveras counties.
On June 22, 2017, Sacramento Judge Allen Sumner ruled that because “…the Butte Fire was caused by a public improvement as deliberately designed and constructed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company,” the company is liable for all property damages caused by the fire.
On July 1, 2020, the PG&E Fire Victim Trust (FVT) was established as part of the reorganization plan of the 2019 bankruptcy of PG&E to administer the claims of the wildfire victims. Also on July 1, PG&E funded the Fire Victim Trust (FVT) with $5.4 billion in cash and 22.19% of stock in the reorganized PG&E, which covers most of the obligations of its settlement for the wildfire victims. PG&E has two more payments totaling $1.35 billion in cash, scheduled to be paid in January 2021 and January 2022, to complete its obligations to the wildfire victims.