Another possible near-miss for PG&E was recorded Tuesday night in northern Sonoma County when a vegetation fire broke out just minutes after power was restored in one area — and apparently there were two downed power lines in the vicinity that were missed in the utility's inspections.
Named the Franz Fire even though it was contained at just a quarter of an acre, the small blaze broke out around 7:20 p.m. on the 8000 block of Franz Valley School Road, in or very near the footprint of the Tubbs Fire three years ago and near the edges of the Glass Fire that was just contained last week.
Freelance journalist Sarah Stierch, who was been tweeting prodigiously about this fire season from her home in Sonoma County, tweeted Tuesday night as the fire was breaking out that power had been restored to Franz Valley School Road around 7 p.m. and the fire was reported at 7:24 p.m. Two downed power lines were reportedly found in the area according to the Sonoma County Scanner account, though PG&E has not confirmed this.
POWER WAS RESTORED ALONG FRANZ VALLEY SCHOOL ROAD AROUND 7 PM.— Sarah Stierch (@Sarah_Stierch) October 28, 2020
THE #FRANZFIRE WAS REPORTED AT 7:24 PM
TWO DOWNED POWER LINES WERE FOUND AT THE SCENE
I was literally lounging on the couch writing postcards and preparing for an early night in and got an alert about that fire and audibly shrieked in my house when I jumped up and ran to my desk.— Sarah Stierch (@Sarah_Stierch) October 28, 2020
Glad we had the resources available and the weather was in our favor. pic.twitter.com/BpPgeZLlQQ
(Final update, 11:27 pm)#FranzFire Fire mapped at .44 acres, IC terminated, 1 engine to come back and check the fire tomorrow to ensure complete extinguishment.— Sonoma County Scanner Updates (@SonomaScanner) October 28, 2020
The fire burned less than half an acre according to Sonoma County Scanner, however KSRO reports via the Northern Sonoma County Fire District that it burned about two acres. Within four hours, firefighters declared the blaze under control and said they would return to inspect the area today.
It's unclear whether the power lines in question were already down when the power was restored, or if they somehow fell just after.
As the Press Democrat reports, around 1,100 PG&E customers were still without power as of Wednesday morning, following the PSPS event that began on Sunday. Most of these outages were in the vicinity of Franz Valley and Mark West Springs.
Luckily, the Diablo wind event had been winding down since Tuesday morning and firefighters were able to get hoses around the entire blaze very quickly — otherwise the Franz Fire could have led to yet another destructive and/or deadly catastrophe.