Federal investigators are eyeing a California utility company’s equipment as the possible source of the massive Bobcat wildfire ravaging Los Angeles County.
Southern California Edison has surrendered a section of overhead electrical conductor to the feds for inspection, company spokesman David Song said Wednesday.
At 12:16 p.m. Sept. 6, a substation near Cogswell Dam in the San Gabriel Mountains registered a “relay operation,” indicating some sort of disturbance picked up by the equipment, according to Song and an incident report filed last week with the state Public Utilities Commission.
About five minutes later, the first report of what would become the Bobcat fire came in near the dam.
Song also noted, however, that cameras captured smoke developing in the area around 12:10 p.m. — prior to the “relay operation.”
“Southern California Edison understands this is a difficult time for the many people who are being impacted by the Bobcat fire,” he said in a statement. “Our thoughts are also with those affected by the wildfires currently burning across the western United States.”
The company will work with the US Forest Service in an attempt to identify the cause of the blaze, which earlier this week surpassed 100,000 acres in size to become one of the largest in Los Angeles County history.
Historically, some of the most destructive wildfires in California have been linked to malfunctioning utility equipment.
The Bobcat fire is just one of dozens of wildfires raging across California and the West Coast since the summer.
Cumulatively, this year’s California blazes have killed at least 26 people and leveled thousands of buildings.