Newsletter: California’s fire and power crisis

The Kincade fire began Wednesday night in Northern California and has charred more than 30,000 acres.


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California’s Fire and Power Crisis

Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency as wind-driven wildfires continue to scorch California and widespread blackouts initiated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have affected more than 2 million people, leaving them without power possibly for days.


From the San Francisco Bay to Clearlake, as howling winds blew, fire crews in Northern California scrambled to beat down new blazes before they burst out of control. They also fought to head off the giant Kincade fire as it moved across Sonoma County, burning winery properties and threatening Windsor and Santa Rosa.

Tens of thousands fled the advancing flames in the dark. Shelters were filled to capacity. Many people not only are worried about when they’ll be allowed back, but they’re also experiencing a frightening sense of déjà vu of wildfires past. Most vulnerable to the growing stress are the young, old and infirm.

More About the Fires

— A growing brush fire is burning along the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center, prompting the Los Angeles Fire Department to announce mandatory evacuation orders as structures burn.

— Automobile passengers took video and described some harrowing moments crossing the Carquinez Bridge, which connects Contra Costa County to Vallejo in Northern California, as flames roared.

Maps: Where the wildfires are burning, and where PG&E has shut off the power.


Baghdadi’s Gone, Questions Remain

The U.S. special forces operation in Syria that led to the reported death of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group, has brought to a close a manhunt that lasted nearly a decade. “He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone,” President Trump said, announcing Baghdadi’s death in unusual detail in a TV appearance that included a 50-minute exchange with reporters.

Baghdadi’s death is a significant blow to the jihadi group known for its extremism and brutality, but there’s doubt it will be the coup de grace. At a camp where more than 70,000 relatives of Islamic State fighters are detained, the reaction from two women was disbelief: “This is propaganda! We don’t believe it!”

The Rise and Fall of Katie Hill

Rep. Katie Hill of Santa Clarita was elected to Congress as part of the “blue wave” in 2018 and became a rising star in the Democratic House leadership. Now, Hill says she will resign after allegations that she engaged in affairs with a congressional aide and a campaign staff member became public.

A conservative website published articles with the allegations, complete with intimate photos of Hill, that have sparked debate about a double standard in the male-dominated world of political sex scandals. Hill denied the relationship with the House employee, which would be a violation of House rules, but did not deny the relationship with the campaign staff member.

More From Washington

— Former deputy national security advisor Charles Kupperman, who’s supposed to testify before House impeachment investigators today, has asked a federal court whether he should comply with a subpoena.

— Trump attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday and sparred with Sen. Kamala Harris, engaging in a feisty online back-and-forth over their separate efforts to connect with African American voters.

— Former U.S. Rep. John Conyers, one of the longest-serving members of Congress whose resolutely liberal stance on civil rights made him a political institution despite several scandals, has died at 90.

Escape From LAX

Starting Tuesday at 3 a.m., the days of stepping into an Uber, Lyft or taxi at the curbside at Los Angeles International Airport are over. Instead, travelers leaving LAX will be required to board a shuttle or walk to a waiting area east of Terminal 1 to hire a car. Whether you’re dismayed, delighted or somewhere in between, here’s what to expect.


Wine country is struggling to attract visitors. Fires and blackouts aren’t helping.

— Thousands of parents mourning children lost to cancer in the Italian city of Taranto are trying to close the steel manufacturing plant that dominates their hometown.

— Columnist Mary McNamara looks at how horror took over television, and not just around Halloween.

— “I told my dates upfront: I’m never getting married. I’m never having kids.” And then ...

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On this date in 1993, Southern California was in the midst of a series of 26 brush fires from Malibu to Orange County in which three people died, 159 were injured, and more than 1,000 structures were lost across 202,000 devastated acres.

Many of those fires had begun Oct. 27 — including a blaze in Laguna Beach that destroyed hundreds of homes and was believed to have been set by an arsonist.

“The fire showed no discernment for economics, hitting million-dollar mansions and trailer homes alike, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people around the area,” The Times reported in 1993. Among those fleeing was “Lois Aldrin, wife of moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin, [who] gathered a few historic mementos from the family home.”

President Clinton declared the region a federal disaster area to help speed reconstruction efforts. Less than three months later, the 1994 Northridge earthquake would strike.


— Former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon is expected today to announce his bid to become Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor during a news briefing outside one of the county’s largest jail facilities.

— The number of homeless people in L.A. can be numbing. But stories like these help us see the people rather than the stats, writes columnist Nita Lelyveld.

— Residents of south Fontana say their lives are being ruined by air pollution and the sound of trucks after warehouses have surrounded them in the last five years. It’s the result of the Inland Empire being transformed into a logistics hub.

— The eviction of monks at Khemara Buddhikarama, the largest Cambodian Buddhist temple in Long Beach, is riling the congregation.


NBC News, which has faced withering criticism over its handling of reporting around disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, is allowing all women who had signed non-disclosure agreements upon leaving the company to discuss any claims of sexual harassment they may have had.

— The L.A.-based company Distribber was supposed to help DIY filmmakers profit from streaming, but that dream became a nightmare.

— Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller finally has an Oscar, 42 years after making history as the first Oscar-nominated female director for her work on the 1970s film “Seven Beauties.”

— Stand-up comic Mike Birbiglia is finding the funny in reluctant fatherhood. He’s playing the Ahmanson through next month.


— The first anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, was marked around the world Sunday with community service projects, music and an online remembrance.

— In Salt Lake City, Luz Escamilla is looking to become the Utah capital’s first Latina mayor.

— Apples are rotting in orchards in Kashmir as India cracks down on the region.


— So much for a cashless society: Currency is popular again, especially the $100 bill.

Financial planning for the 60-and-older set: Balancing stocks in a retirement savings portfolio, Medicare versus a spouse’s health plan and more.


Santa Anita, struggling to regain public confidence with safe racing during its fall meeting, had a sixth horse fatality at the track since Sept. 18.

— Trump was greeted with boos and chants of “Lock him up!” while attending Game 5 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and host Washington Nationals. The Astros now have a 3-to-2 lead in the series.


— Columnist Doyle McManus asks: How did poor, embattled Ukraine land in the middle of so many Trumpworld conspiracy theories about what happened in 2016? All roads lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

— It should be crystal clear by now that California needs to make major changes in the way communities prepare for wildfires. So what are lawmakers doing about it? Not enough, writes The Times’ editorial board.


— Some veterans are worried that Trump revealed details of the Baghdadi raid that could imperil future operations. (Politico)

— The complicated relationship between Washington, D.C., and baseball has been shaped by racial dynamics over the years. (The Undefeated)


Where does Jane Seymour, famed for her role on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” go to heal herself? Look no farther than her bedroom in her modern, 6,300-square-foot Tudor-style home, perched on a coastal hill in Malibu. Her favorite room reflects the broad spectrum of her skills and interests: “There’s art nouveau, there’s Hollywood glam, there’s beach house, there’s modern art. I wanted the room to be a mixture of everything I love.” Take a glimpse inside.

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