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Today: Why the Valley Fire Moved So Fast. VIP Visits Ahead.

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES 

The Perfect Firestorm

The Valley fire in Northern California is the blaze that officials have been worried about all summer: Drought conditions and high temperatures combined to make what experts called the fastest-moving fire in California’s recent past. "It is kind of mind-boggling," one scientist says.

Silicon Valley Guru

In his youth, Narendra Modi helped his family sell tea near railway and bus stations. Later this month, in the first visit to California by an Indian prime minister in three decades, he will be looking to help further sell the idea of his country as a hub for manufacturing and the digital industry. Here's what is in store when Modi makes his way to Silicon Valley.

If They Met the Pope

Speaking of visits, Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. next week. One group that would very much like to meet him: a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their supporters. Although the pope has condemned same-sex marriage, he's also said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" If LGBT Catholics could meet Francis, here's what they would tell him

The Debate: Must-See TV

When Republican presidential candidates face off Wednesday in Simi Valley, CNN is anticipating its largest audience ever. The network can thank mostly Donald Trump for that. The debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library also has some, including columnist George Skelton, wondering: What would the Gipper think? Plus: If you can’t get enough of this campaign season, our free Essential Politics newsletter starts today.

Sneak Preview

The Broad, opening Sept. 20, is arguably the most significant new museum in L.A. in at least the last decade. It will launch with an exhibition of roughly 250 pieces by about 60 artists, collected by Eli and Edythe Broad. Art critic Christopher Knight got an early look and concluded: “Unfortunately the show doesn't gel, although many works are superlative.” Tweaks may still be made before Sunday, though. In the meantime, here’s a look at the building, key artworks, an interview with Eli Broad and more

Blackhawk Down

In case you missed it: On Dec. 17, 2013, a Blackhawk helicopter known as Arrowsmith 35 was brought down in Afghanistan. Of the seven soldiers aboard, only one survived. Reporter Thomas Curwen and photojournalist Katie Falkenberg tell the gripping story of Pfc. Jayson Morton and his wife, Whitley, as well as recording remembrances of the six who died.  

CALIFORNIA

-- Middletown: The community at the epicenter of a raging wildfire.

-- Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris still leads in the Senate race, but Rep. Loretta Sanchez gains ground, according to the latest poll.

-- UC regents appeal after a judge finds a student sexual misconduct investigation unfair.

-- Steve Lopez interviews David Dale, who at 62 is mourning a high school girlfriend killed in a car crash.

NATION-WORLD

-- Germany, overwhelmed, temporarily halts free entrance for asylum seekers.

-- Arizona authorities have arrested teenagers in "copycat" incidents after freeway shootings.

-- Taiwan’s Nationalist Party looks to be heading toward a historic defeat

-- Cathleen DeckerAre Republicans losing white voters too?

-- UC Riverside professor: What's missing in college philosophy classes? Chinese philosophers.

BUSINESS

-- Just about any new car can be hacked -- some even driven by remote control.

-- Online bed bug reports gnaw at hotel revenue.

-- For grocery stores, Southern California is an irresistible and cutthroat market.

SPORTS

-- Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer for his second U.S. Open title. 

-- Moses Malone, the "chairman of the boards" who jumped straight from high school to pro basketball, has died at age 60.

ENTERTAINMENT

-- Review: PBS' four-hour documentary "Walt Disney" is an entertaining, enlightening look. 

-- A look at the multimedia company Nerdist Industries, now that geekery is in the mainstream.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- What "So Help Me God" meant to George Washington. (Bloomberg)

-- On El Salvador’s near-bloodiest day, medical examiners fight exhaustion and fear. (San Bernardino County Sun)

-- The purpose of traveling. (Zocalo on KCRW)

ONLY IN L.A.

"If I rest, I rust." That’s Plácido Domingo's motto. No wonder, then, that to start L.A. Opera's 30th season, the 75-year-old wore multiple hats: He sang the title role in "Gianni Schicchi," then conducted "Pagliacci" for the night's second half. Did we mention he's also the company's general director? Music critic Mark Swed fills us in on more details.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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