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L.A. Now California: This just in
With more than 8,500 firefighters doing battle, this is California's largest wildfire response
'They'll have a few good days': Forecasters say weaker winds could aid fight against Thomas fire

Weaker winds, cooler temperatures and higher humidity early this week should help firefighters battling the massive Thomas fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, forecasters said.

The 270,500-acre fire has been driven by seemingly nonstop winds and bone-dry conditions over the last two weeks.

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Essential California: California's worst fire season prompts an uncomfortable question

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Dec. 18, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Rebuilding in the fire zone

More than 10,000 homes have been destroyed by wildfire this year, and hard-hit communities like Santa Rosa and Ventura are looking ahead to recovery.

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After 157 years in Chinatown, Los Angeles’ oldest hospital shuts its doors

Xiaoyuan Yang was pregnant and her husband Weiming Lei needed a job when they moved more than 20 years ago from Guangzhou, China, to Los Angeles.

“We knew nothing, and we didn’t understand anything,” Lei said. “Someone told us to live in Chinatown.”

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Crews saved hundreds of homes in epic battle against wind and fire. But two families returned to rubble

Every morning and every night during her family vacation in snowy Colorado, Sonia Behrman pulled up the live security footage of her Montecito home.

Sometimes she’d see a handful of firefighters, with hoses, moving about. Other times, a firetruck parked in the driveway. In every stream for seven days, her home was still standing.

But on Saturday morning, the feed on her cellphone screen cut out.

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Fire crews take advantage of calm winds, but 'we’ll always be in the ‘ready, set, go’ mode'

Firefighters took advantage of light winds in Santa Barbara County late Sunday, mounting an aggressive attack directly on the massive Thomas fire’s western face a day after powerful gusts pushed flames toward homes along the coast.

Crews were in place to protect homes should a wind shift send the wildfire toward neighborhoods overnight, but authorities said that’s unlikely.

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