Wildfire Survivors Warn Against Promises from Lawyers

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Evacuated Chester resident Regina Rutledge sighs while living in her vehicle at an evacuation center for the Dixie fire in Susanville, California on August 06, 2021. - Rutledge has been living in her truck and was told that it will be at least 10 days before she can return home. (JOSH EDELSON via Getty Images)

Most of the 70,000 survivors of wildfires sparked by PG&E equipment between 2015 and 2018, have yet to see any of the promised $13.5 billion settlement with the utility. Now, attorneys in a burgeoning wildfire litigation arena are working fast to hang their shingles in towns like Quincy and Susanville, where many wildfire evacuees -- trapped in motels or staying with friends-- try to figure out their next steps. The lawyers promise big settlements out of PG&E. But many families who once turned to these same lawyers after losing homes and loved ones to previous wildfires, still sleep in cars and trailers and are warning recent wildfire survivors to beware of unkept promises from the legal profession.


Lily Jamali, co-host, correspondent, KQED's The California Report