MALDEN, Wash. — A tree limb that hit a powerline is suspected to be the cause of the Babb-Malden fire, according to the power company.
"During the course of the storm, an otherwise healthy tree and limbs, located outside Avista's maintenance right-of-way, broke under the extraordinary wind conditions and caused damage to the energy delivery system at or near what is believed to be the area of the origin of the wildfire," said Avista Senior Communications Manager Casey Fielder.
Avista is participating in a Department of Natural Resources investigation into the cause of the Malden fire. That investigation is still ongoing, according to a release from the power company.
Avista conducted its own investigation into the primary cause of the fires in the region and determined that extremely high winds triggered wildfires and affected utilities throughout the Pacific Northwest, according to the release.
Avista didn't find any evidence that the fires were caused by "deficiencies in its equipment, maintenance activities, or vegetation management practices," according to the release.
However, the company did discover "instances where, during the course of the storm, otherwise healthy trees and limbs located in areas outside its maintenance right of way, broke under the extraordinary wind conditions and caused damage to its energy delivery system," according to the release.
KREM reached out to the Department of Natural Resources for comment about its investigation but has not heard back.