Newsletter: Essential California: At least 10 are dead in destructive Northern California firestorm


A Northern California firestorm is one of the worst in state history, officials say. The Dodgers are heading to the NLCS after beating the Diamondbacks Monday night. Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Oct. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Fire, fire everywhere

Rolling fires in Northern and Southern California have forced the evacuations of thousands of residents. The worst-hit areas are in the northern part of the state, where more than dozen fires ravaged eight counties, leaving at least 10 people dead. The vast devastation over just a few hours made this firestorm one of the worst in California history, with Gov. Jerry Brown declaring a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties. Los Angeles Times


Here’s what you need to know:

-- At least 1,500 structures in Northern California have been destroyed.

--The Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa burned more than 35,000 acres and had residents running for their lives. Two Santa Rosa hospitals were evacuated. Los Angeles Times

-- Off-duty Sonoma County Sheriff’s Det. Troy Newton ran up a hill behind his home and saw a “growing red snake” of fire moving toward him. “I ran into my house and told my wife to get our 4-year-old boy ready to leave,” he said. Because, as he put it, “We’ve got trouble.” Los Angeles Times


-- More than 5,000 homes were evacuated as fires in Orange County grew to 6,000 acres, destroying 24 structures. Los Angeles Times

--- A key reason the fires burning through Napa and Sonoma counties became so devastating is that the ignitions happened at the worst possible moment: when extremely dry conditions combined with so-called Diablo winds that fanned flames on the ridge tops with gusts as high as 70 mph.. Los Angeles Times

-- These fires in wine country have dealt a bad blow to Sonoma and Napa’s top industry. Los Angeles Times

The latest from Las Vegas


In the solitary world of video poker, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock knew how to win. Until he didn’t. Most Americans are familiar with poker, from small-stakes home games to final-table showdowns at the World Series of Poker, a game in which reading your opponent can be as important as the cards that are dealt. The game Paddock played is different. Computers don’t bluff. They don’t distract, they don’t order too much gin and make mistakes. They deal in numbers. Los Angeles Times

New revelations: The gunman shot a security guard before opening fire on concertgoers, police now say. Los Angeles Times

Lost in the chaos: How a man used the “Find My iPhone” app to locate his missing wife. Los Angeles Times

The veep in California


After making a stop in Newport Beach, Vice President Mike Pence toured an industrial machine shop in a Sacramento suburb Monday evening to pitch President Trump’s tax reform plan. The president’s proposal could dramatically affect California taxpayers. Proposed elimination of the federal deduction of state and local taxes could cost Californians more than $100 billion, according to nonpartisan estimates. Los Angeles Times


Weinstein fallout: Julianne Moore, Kevin Smith and other A-listers with professional connections to Harvey Weinstein have come forward to publicly decry the allegations against the producer and support the women whose stories of sexual harassment led to a fall from grace that saw the producer ousted Sunday from his namesake company. Los Angeles Times

News on the homefront: The Los Angeles Times has named Forbes Media executive Lewis D’Vorkin as its new editor in chief. He plans to officially start on Nov. 1. Los Angeles Times


Big win, Part 1: Manager Dave Roberts made all the right moves as the Dodgers swept the Arizona Diamondbacks to reach the National League Championship Series. Los Angeles Times

Big win, Part 2: At this year’s Great American Beer Festival, half a dozen L.A.-area breweries won awards for beers that ranged from classic German styles to adventurous uses of fruit and vegetables. Los Angeles Times

Statue under wraps: “A statue of Christopher Columbus was covered up Monday just as the first Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles got underway.” CBS LA



DACA dealmaking: Lawmakers who favor a deal to protect some 700,000 young immigrants facing possible deportation because of the end of the Obama administration’s DACA program are seeking to drive a wedge between President Trump and hard-liners on his staff, launching appeals directly to a president who they see as potentially sympathetic to people brought illegally to the U.S. as children. Los Angeles Times


She’s running: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s announcement that she’s running for reelection comes amid threats from the left, with more progressive Californians saying that Feinstein’s moderate nature isn’t the right fit for a state that feels the brunt of Trump administration policies. Los Angeles Times

Plus: One prominent progressive California Democrat is calling for a Feinstein primary challenge. Politico


Legalize this: What has become known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment constitutes a single paragraph of federal law. It prohibits the Justice Department from spending even a cent to prosecute medical marijuana users and sellers operating legally under state laws.The prospect that this ban on prosecutions could expire has spread anxiety across the marijuana industry. Los Angeles Times

King takes a break: Los Angeles schools chief Michelle King has appointed a subordinate to run the school system while she recuperates from surgery. Los Angeles Times

New prescription drug law: Gov. Jerry Brown defied the drug industry Monday by signing a sweeping drug price transparency bill that will require drugmakers to provide notice to health plans and other purchasers 60 days in advance of a planned price hike if the increase exceeds certain thresholds. Los Angeles Times



The Trump effect? Fearing deportation, many domestic violence victims are steering clear of police and the courts. In the first six months of 2017, reports of domestic violence declined among Latino residents in some of California’s largest cities, a retreat that crisis professionals say is driven by a fear that interacting with police or entering a courthouse could make immigrants easy targets for deportation. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Despite assurances to nervous immigrants, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has given assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in jails. Los Angeles Times

Human trafficking: Santa Cruz and Monterey counties are still hubs for human trafficking, according to the Santa Cruz Police Department. Santa Cruz Sentinel



Plagiarism accusation: Reina Gossett, a transgender filmmaker, writer and activist, has accused filmmaker David France of stealing work from her to create “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which debuted Friday on Netflix. Los Angeles Times

Cough, cough, hack, hack: Russian immigrants in Silicon Valley say they are having a hard time doing business in the shadow of all the hacking news. New York Times

“Reservoir Dogs” redux: The 25th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s film “Reservoir Dogs” “shapes up as an exercise in slightly nervous time travel, like a college reunion, or stumbling on a high-school crush on Facebook.” The New Yorker

Back to the ’90s: The Orange County punk-rock band Cadillac Tramps lives on in a new documentary. Los Angeles Times



Los Angeles area: Sunny, 84, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 77, Wednesday. San Diego: Sunny, 77, Tuesday. Sunny, 74, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 71, Tuesday. Sunny, 68, Wednesday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 82, Tuesday. Sunny, 75, Wednesday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Phil Smith:


“As a youngster growing up in Westchester, my buddies and I would ride our bikes to the edge of the bluff overlooking Hughes Aircraft and watch planes coming and going, not realizing at the time that most of these were private, experimental, one-of-a-kind, top-secret aircraft evolving from deep within the bowels of Howard Hughes’ own private dream works. I had another buddy who got me a job after school at one of the employee gates selling the Herald-Express, while he sold the Mirror. As we got to know the guard, he would occasionally let us run past the gate between shifts, gaze into the hangar for about 15 seconds, then sprint back out. If only I’d had a movie camera as we sat on that bluff! We didn’t quite know what we were seeing inside and out back then, but wow, were we ever mesmerized by it all!”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.