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San Diego utility agrees to pay $24.5 million over 2007 brush fires

December 16, 2011 |  5:36 pm

Witch
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. has agreed to pay $24.5 million to San Diego County in relation to the wind-driven 2007 brush fires that burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,500 homes.

Without admitting fault, the utility agreed to pay $15 million to the county general fund and $9.5 million to a fund to provide fire protection, according to a joint statement Friday by utility officials and the county.

The California Public Utilities Commission has alleged that the Witch, Rice Canyon and Guejito fires were begun by sparking power lines and that SDG&E had maintained the lines poorly. In 2009, the company agreed to pay $14.3 million to the state.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A home destroyed by the Witch fire northeast of Ramona in San Diego County. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times