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Today: The Wildfires’ Worst May Be Yet to Come

Today: The Wildfires’ Worst May Be Yet to Come
The Thomas fire burns along the 101 Freeway north of Ventura. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

After enduring days of wildfires, Southern California is braced for even stronger Santa Ana winds today that could spread the existing flames and drive new ones.



The Wildfires' Worst May Be Yet to Come

The videos of the cars driving through the Sepulveda Pass on the 405 Freeway depicted a hellscape near one of L.A.'s most exclusive neighborhoods — a variation on a scene that has played out over and over again as fires rage across Southern California this week. Forecasters say the winds that have whipped flames in Ventura, Sylmar, Santa Clarita and beyond will reach their peak today, but a red flag warning will continue through Saturday. The dangerous conditions prompted the closure of 265 schools in neighborhoods affected by the wildfires in and near Los Angeles. "There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds," says one Cal Fire official. "At the end of the day, we need everyone in the public to listen and pay attention." Here is the latest.

Fire approaches the 101 Freeway along Solimar and Faria beaches north of Ventura.
Fire approaches the 101 Freeway along Solimar and Faria beaches north of Ventura. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

More About the Fires

-- Crews are battling a massive Ventura County wildfire that carved a path of destruction for more than 10 miles and forced at least 50,000 residents to flee. They've been trying to keep the fire out of the Ojai Valley.

-- More than 100,000 residents in the San Fernando Valley were under evacuation as a brush fire that started in the foothills above Sylmar continued to grow. Nearly 30 horses perished at a ranch.

-- Fire hit several houses in Bel-Air and threatened Rupert Murdoch's $30-million vineyard estate. The nearby Getty Center closed, but officials said there was no immediate danger to the art.

-- The Bel-Air fire brought back memories of a 1961 blaze that devastated many celebrity homes in the area and led to a change in fire safety laws.

-- Are you ready for a last-minute evacuation in case of fire? Here's how to prepare.

Franken Faces the Call to Resign

Democratic Sen. Al Franken plans to make an announcement about his future this morning after an uprising from within his own party insisting that he resign. The push, led by women and eventually encompassing more than half of Democratic senators, came as a new accusation of sexual misconduct emerged. If Franken steps down, he'd become the second high-profile congressional Democrat to do so this week. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have made no similar demands of Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, who allegedly harassed an aide who received an $84,000 taxpayer-financed settlement.

How the Spirit Moved Trump to Act on Jerusalem

President Trump says his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there is a step toward peace in the Middle East, even though he knew it would cause "disagreement and dissent." After one day, it's led to protests in Palestinian territories and condemnation or dismay from a long list of world and religious leaders. So who's happy about it, besides Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? In the U.S., a large number of evangelical Christians, as well as some prominent conservative Jews.

More Politics

-- A witness told Congress that Michael Flynn texted a former business associate on Inauguration Day that Obama-era sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up" and that a lucrative proposal to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners in the Middle East was "good to go."


-- Rep. Adam B. Schiff says that, at a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee, Donald Trump Jr. claimed attorney-client privilege to avoid discussing a conversation with his father.

-- Among the goodies in the Republican tax bills: breaks for beer, unborn children and lawmakers.

-- That slurred "United States" at the end of Trump's Jerusalem speech? The White House says it was dry mouth.

L.A. Greenlights New Pot Rules

The L.A. City Council signed off on a list of new regulations for the recreational marijuana industry ahead of next year's statewide move to legalize it. One trick for lawmakers has been how to cash in on what is expected to be at least $50 million in tax revenue while keeping businesses from creating nuisance or blight. In particular, the council wants to help disadvantaged communities, hit hard by the war on drugs, benefit. The rules now go to the mayor for approval.


-- Scenes from the fire in Bel-Air, where several houses were destroyed.


-- A look at the Creek fire above Sylmar.

-- Last year, Pearl Harbor survivors recalled where they were and how they survived the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.


-- Rep. Judy Chu was arrested at the U.S. Capitol during a demonstration calling on Congress to find a legislative fix for the legal status of those brought into the country illegally as children.

-- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has reportedly found more records from its 1993 investigation of Michael Jackson, which include audio of an interview with Corey Feldman.

-- The outcry against LA Weekly's new owners, which had already caused some advertisers to step back, now has also pushed away potential investor Erwin Chemerinsky.

-- The old Herald Examiner newspaper building, shuttered since 1989, is undergoing renovation and will get a new eatery from some high-profile restaurateurs.


-- Six women are suing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and the studio he co-founded, seeking to turn their case into a class-action suit.

-- "Saturday Night Live's" Kate McKinnon has a Gal Gadot impression that must be seen to be believed.

-- Meet the man who's had a lifelong obsession with creating the Oscars of video games.

-- Elvis Costello on movies, music and why you won't ever see him slapping his knee in concert.


America watched Donny and Marie Osmond grow up, first as child singers along with their siblings in the 1960s, as teenagers with a TV variety show and as adults with their own entertainment careers. In 2008, they opened what was supposed to be a six-week engagement at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Instead, it's turned into a gig that is entering its 10th year.


-- After years of trying, some Pearl Harbor survivors finally persuaded officials to award a medal to the man who saved their lives.

-- In an election about race, gentrification and party loyalty, Atlanta waits for a recount to determine its next mayor.

-- When a young investigator of corruption was killed in Afghanistan, it sparked a debate about whether the U.S.-trained agency he worked for did enough to protect him.

-- Across Taiwan, monuments to Chiang Kai-shek abound. But now many Taiwanese view Chiang as a despot and they want his name and likeness removed from landmarks.

-- Astronomers have found the oldest known supermassive black hole in the universe.


-- Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger may stay on the job longer than expected if the Burbank entertainment giant buys major assets from 21st Century Fox.

-- For the second year in a row, real Christmas trees cost more to buy. Here's why.


-- The UCLA men's basketball team canceled its game against Montana because of concerns related to nearby wildfires, while the Rams made contingency plans for practice in case the air quality is too bad in Thousand Oaks.

-- The Lakers' Kyle Kuzma and Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons will face each other tonight. They've taken different routes to successful rookie seasons in the NBA.


-- Under Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to ignore science and let truckers avoid clean-air requirements by putting old, dirty engines in new truck bodies.

-- Fiercely local alt-weeklies are worth fighting for. Can they be saved?


-- A deep look at Vice President Mike Pence, his religious faith and his relationship with Trump. (The Atlantic)

-- The women who spoke up against harassment are Time magazine's Person of the Year.

-- On the fascination with daredevils. (Aeon)



In 1963, when Frank Sinatra's 19-year-old son was kidnapped, a ransom was agreed upon: $240,000. "What the hell?" Sinatra replied. "What kind of figure is that?" The FBI agent who delivered the cash outside an L.A. gas station was Jerome Crowe, who would later lead a SWAT team in the bloody 1974 Symbionese Liberation Army shootout. Not only that, Crowe, who died last month at age 93, was once supervised by the man who became known as "Deep Throat" in the Watergate scandal.

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