Essential California: What's so unusual about a wildfire?

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 20. Here are some stories you don't want to miss this weekend: 

Fire season: A wildfire burned thousands of acres in the mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest, but what's particularly interesting about this fire is that it's happening at elevations of 6,000 to 10,000 feet. In a typical year, those parts of the mountains would have lower temperatures and residual moisture from the snowpack. Once the fire started, there was plenty of kindling because that area hasn't burned for 104 years. Los Angeles Times 

Interviewing the president: A Highland Park garage is an unusual setting for an interview, and that's especially true if you are the president of the United States of America. But Marc Maron, host of the podcast WTF, says it was actually the White House staff that reached out and offered an interview with President Obama on his swing through Los Angeles. The piece will be available on Monday, and Maron says the president gets candid on a couple of topics. 89.3 KPCC

Campaign stop: Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to California this week is just the latest example of the Clintons' long history with the state. When Bill Clinton ran in the 1992 presidential election, he came to the Golden State to raise money and reach out to voters in South Los Angeles and Orange County. Since then, Democrats have so tightened their grip on the state that candidates -- of either party -- really come out here only for money. Clinton is still popular, though. She won California in the 2008 primary on the way to losing the nomination to Barack Obama. Los Angeles Times 

Ticket scheme: As many as 1,000 Orange County traffic violations may have been "fixed" by a court clerk. Law enforcement officers believe that predominantly Latino defendants were targeted in a scheme to illegally resolve cases. Paperwork incorrectly claimed that defendants were represented by specific attorneys and even falsely claimed that they had served jail time. Los Angeles Times 

Violent celebration: Three people were shot Friday just blocks from the Golden State Warriors' victory parade in Oakland. "It was a real celebratory day, then something like this has to happen. It's too bad. It sucks," said one witness. SFist

Business benefits: This year Ramadan began June 17, and its early arrival should be good for business in Beverly Hills. Hotel owners and restaurateurs say that when the monthlong observation arrives later in the summer, wealthy Muslims are less likely to travel. The Four Seasons is sold out for the month of August, and Barneys New York is hiring Arabic-speaking sales associates. "It extends the period of time they can travel before their children have to go back to school," said the managing director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Hollywood Reporter

Black, white: The idea that someone who is white would publicly state that she is black didn't start with Rachel Dolezal. California had its own case during a 1983 city council race in Stockton. Mark Stebbins had white parents but identified himself as black. That became an issue when he ran against Ralph Lee White, who was black. With the passage of time, the two men reflect on what that episode taught them about racial identity. Los Angeles Times

To the rescue: When a disaster strikes almost anywhere in the world, a small group of firefighters, doctors and engineers is on its way almost immediately. The members of the California Task Force Two most recently traveled to Nepal after the big earthquake there. California Sunday Magazine

Chargers' home: Columnist Michael Hiltzik argues that the city of San Diego doesn't need to play the NFL's game of "Should I stay or should I go?" "Given its existing drivers of economic growth, including tourism, high-tech industry and the military, San Diego is the very model of a place that doesn't need the NFL," he writes. Los Angeles Times

Beach visitors: The appearance of tuna crabs on Southern California beaches may be another sign that a strong El Niño is on the way. The red crustaceans are common in Baja but only show up north of the border when the ocean warms. Los Angeles Times (video)

Let the games begin: Could the 2024 Olympics be coming to Los Angeles? The U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as its nominee, but now that the bid appears to be falling apart some are speculating that L.A. could swoop in and make its case. 3 Wire Sports

Festive flowers: The lei is one of the most popular accessories at graduation ceremonies around California. Florists attribute the boom to the state's native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations. Los Angeles Times

Father's Day: It's on Sunday. Here, L.A. chefs, who are also fathers, talk about their ideal gifts. Los Angeles Magazine


This week's most popular stories in Essential California

  1. Who knew that a taco emoji, even an unofficial one, could be so popular? L.A. Taco

  2. After culling through expense reports, here's a rundown of the 15 most popular restaurants with labor bosses at the Department of Water and Power. LA Weekly

  3. The city of Los Angeles voted this week to make it easier to seize the belongings of men and women living on the street. Here's an inventory of what some people keep with them in their tents. Los Angeles Times

  4. With just an eighth-grade education, Kirk Kerkorian amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune by identifying business opportunities in casinos, movies and automobiles. He died Monday at 98. Los Angeles Times

  5. The demolition of Candlestick Park has taken months longer than expected. It's to the point where it now looks like the set of a disaster movie. Deadspin


ICYMI, here are this week's Great Reads

Earthquake engineering: A civil engineer from Cal State Fullerton returned to his native Nepal to survey how well buildings survived the magnitude-7.8 earthquake in April. Binod Tiwari found that developments built to withstand an even stronger quake had collapsed because engineers there had not considered the soil profile. Los Angeles Times

Introducing the owl: In South Africa, owls have long been associated with witchcraft, bad omens and even death. But one rescue group is trying to erase that stigma by rescuing owls and teaching city dwellers how to care for them. Los Angeles Times


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