The Woolsey Fire, the largest and most destructive in Los Angeles County history, started on November 8, 2018 and burned for 13 days before it was contained. It consumed more than 96,000 acres, destroyed 1,500 buildings, damaged another 341 buildings and killed 3 people. After Southern California Edison (SCE) publicly acknowledged that its equipment was likely associated with the ignition of the fire, the County, joined by several other public entities, filed lawsuits against SCE.
The County and a coalition of public agencies then negotiated a global settlement of their lawsuits in November 2019 requiring SCE to pay a total of $210 million. The County received $64.2 million from SCE in the settlement. The funding will help compensate the County—and its taxpayers—for extensive firefighting and emergency response costs, recovery efforts, infrastructure damage, injury to natural resources, loss of tax revenue, and other significant public losses allegedly resulting from the Woolsey Fire. More than 20 County departments and thousands of County employees joined in responding to the Woolsey Fire and ongoing recovery efforts.
The lawsuit also included a first-in-the-nation escrow fund of $43 million for FEMA to recover some of its costs of reimbursing the County for projects undertaken in response to the Woolsey Fire. If FEMA does not approve certain County reimbursement requests, the County may retain a portion of the $43 million escrow fund.
*Although SCE settled this lawsuit, it did not admit liability; nor did it admit the allegations of the County’s complaint.