California utility PG&E agrees to pay $55 million settlement to avoid fire prosecution

Apr 12, 2022
Attorneys said they decided to pursue a civil prosecution instead of criminal charges to "maximize the return to the fire victims rather than to seek criminal penalties."
The PG&E settlement money will go toward fire prevention but lets the company avoid criminal charges.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California's wildfire building codes make newer homes less likely to burn

Apr 1, 2022
But up to 14 million homes were built before fire safety measures took effect. Some insurers now offer discounts for risk reduction.
Jim and Ann Pesout's house in Northern California before it burned down in the Butte Fire in 2015.
Courtesy Jim and Ann Pesout

How quickly can communities recover from wildfires?

Oct 1, 2021
A new report looks at how resilient different parts of the country are to the threat of wildfires, and the long term displacement of people from their homes.
Firefighters battle the Thomas blaze in California in 2017.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

California orders insurers not to drop homeowners in wildfire-prone areas

Sep 21, 2021
With the risk of wildfire rising, it's become harder for some homeowners to find coverage.
A table and chairs remain in front of a Greenville, California, home destroyed by the Dixie Fire. State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara wants insurers to reward residents who mitigate fire risk.
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

As wildfires rage, infrastructure bill aims to mitigate their impact

Aug 10, 2021
As it stands, the bill would fund several agencies' efforts to predict, control and plan for blazes caused by climate change.
A firefighter works to extinguish a fire on Aug. 9 in Greenville, California. The state's Dixie Fire has incinerated nearly 500,000 acres so far.
David Odisho via Getty Images

Low pay pushes some federal firefighters to find work elsewhere

Jul 14, 2021
“We all live supermodestly,” a firefighter said. “We’re about being able to do this job that we love, but also sustain life.”
Firefighters battle the Thomas blaze in California in 2017.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

PG&E ties compensation of victims to its future through stock

Apr 1, 2021
PG&E equipment caused the Camp Fire and other deadly blazes. What does it mean for victims when the settlement depends on profitability?
Victims of wildfires caused by PG&E equipment wonder how owning the company's stock will compensate them for their lost and damaged homes.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

Support fact-based, independent journalism with a gift to Marketplace today.

2 years after losing their homes in California fire, some are still wrangling with insurers

Dec 11, 2020
California has opened an audit into insurance company Nationwide's practices.
An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on Nov. 15, 2018, in Paradise, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Smoke damage to grapes is the latest blow to California wine industry

Oct 6, 2020
A glut of grapes on the market, the pandemic and fires that damaged or destroyed wineries. Now, grapes tainted by smoke may be unusable.
“It was difficult this year, and it’s going to be even harder next year,” says Enrique Lopez, who employs up to 100 people to harvest grapes.
Beth LaBerge/KQED

In California, big business is preventing "good fire"

Sep 21, 2020
With the largest wildfires in history ablaze, advocates say its time to fight fire with fire.
A firefighter walks over burning embers from the Bobcat Fire in Southern California.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images