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A bear caused power outage in Butte County. Did it also spark Nimshew Fire?

Cal Fire’s Butte Unit flies over the Nimshew Fire in upper Butte Creek Canyon.
Cal Fire’s Butte Unit flies over the Nimshew Fire in upper Butte Creek Canyon. CAL FIRE Butte Unit

A power outage that affected about 4,500 customers in upper Butte Creek Canyon Monday morning was caused by a bear climbing a power pole, PG&E officials said.

The bear came into contact with the 60,000-volt power lines at around 12:35 a.m. and caused the outage, said PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno.

Moreno said that 550 customers were still without power as of 2 p.m. Monday, but said power should be fully restored soon.

Due to the outage’s proximity to the Nimshew Fire, which started at around the same time as the power outage, PG&E initially was asked not to restore power in some areas in order to keep fire personnel safe, Moreno said. That restriction was lifted Monday afternoon.

Neither PG&E or Cal Fire could confirm whether the bear’s contact with the power pole was connected to the Nimshew Fire.

The 33-acre fire has stopped its forward progression, according to the Cal Fire Butte Unit. As of 7 p.m. Monday evening, the fire was 35 percent contained.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Evacuation advisories issued Monday morning are still in effect for Nimshew Road between Centerville Road and the end of Nimshew.

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