Butte Fire

The Butte Fire was a rapidly moving wildfire during the 2015 California wildfire season that started on September 9 in Amador County, California.[1] The fire burned 70,868 acres (287 km2).

This article is about the 2015 wildfire. For the 2018 wildfire, see Camp Fire (2018).

Butte Fire
Location Jackson, Amador County, California

38.32974°N 120.70418°W / 38.32974; -120.70418

Date(s) September 9, 2015 (2015-09-09) – October 1, 2015 (2015-10-01)
Burned area 70,868 acres (287 km2)
Buildings destroyed
  • 475 residences
  • 343 outbuildings
  • 45 structures damaged
Deaths 2

Location of fire in California

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.[3] By Thursday, the fire had spread into Calaveras County and more than doubled in size over 32,000 acres (129 km2).[4] Officials stated that the fire was expanding in all directions and that efforts were being hampered by difficult topography.[4]

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.[5] Officials from the Amador County Unified School District chose to close all schools in the district on Friday as well.[5] Later that day, as the fire continued to grow, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Amador and Calaveras counties.[6]

On September 16, the Calaveras County coroner announced that the bodies of two people had been found in the Mokelumne Hill and Mountain Ranch areas.[2]

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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.[3]

On July 1, 2020, the PG&E Fire Victim Trust (FVT) was established as part of the reorganization plan[7] of the 2019 bankruptcy of PG&E to administer the claims of the wildfire victims.[8][9] 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.[10][11][12] 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.[13]

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