Newsletter: Essential California: Devastating fire explodes into Redding

The Carr fire burns along Highway 299 in Redding, Calif., on Thursday.
(Noah Berger / AP)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, July 27, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A devastating brush fire barreled into the Northern California city of Redding on Thursday night, killing one person and destroying numerous structures as residents ran for their lives. The fire destroyed at least 15 structures in Shasta County, but that number was expected to rise as the blaze moved toward subdivisions and other populated areas. Officials were urging residents to flee the path of the fire, where hundreds of homes were under threat. Los Angeles Times

-- It was little more than a grave of scorched remains. Appliances burned beyond recognition, a charred bathtub, twists of metal pipe. Slabs of concrete that once served as walls stood next to a chimney of blackened stone. Signs of a caring owner — a filled birdbath, potted plants — were suddenly stark symbols of the past, before the Idyllwild home had been consumed by the Cranston fire. Los Angeles Times


Deadline day

With just hours left on a court-imposed deadline to reunify migrant families who were separated after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, government officials said Thursday that they had reunited 1,442 children with their parents. An additional 378 children had been released to sponsors, were reunited with their parents in other ways or have turned 18, according to a report filed in court Thursday afternoon. Los Angeles Times

A wild story

She had literary ambition. She threw fabulous parties. But she also had a hidden past. After one of these soirees at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, many of the more than 400 of L.A.’s literati who were invited were left wondering: Who was Anna March? Los Angeles Times

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LAPD dive team members use sonar to search the bottom of Echo Park Lake near downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)


Inquiry underway: Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has launched a comprehensive probe into secret deputy cliques and is looking into whether gangs that condone illicit behavior are operating within his ranks, he said Thursday. Los Angeles Times

Worthy remembrance: This Saturday would have been Jonathan Gold’s 58th birthday, and several buildings and monuments around Los Angeles will light up in gold that evening to honor the late restaurant critic. Los Angeles Times

Scooter wars: Santa Monica supports disruptive technology, but it’s not sitting idly back while electric scooters take over sidewalks, bike paths and the beach boardwalk. It’s cracking down on scofflaws who don’t wear helmets and ride double and violate the vehicle codes designed to keep the city safe,” writes columnist Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times

Grim discovery: A body was found in Echo Park Lake Thursday afternoon after a search that began in the early morning hours, Los Angeles police said. Los Angeles Times

Powerful story: Trapped and suffering — inside the Asian American mental health crisis. L.A. Times High School Insider


For years to come: Gov. Jerry Brown will keep his imprint on the powerful California Air Resources Board beyond his time in office after an agency vote Thursday. Los Angeles Times

Slimming down the bill: Four years after approving a plan that charged ratepayers billions of dollars for the premature closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant, state utility regulators adopted a new deal Thursday that trims about $750 million from consumers’ electricity bills. Los Angeles Times

By the Bay: “Sent to work on a Superfund site, they were told they were safe. But the S.F. cops stationed at the old Hunters Point shipyard had good reason to doubt.” San Francisco Chronicle

Combatting corruption: How effective is the political watchdog Brown helped create? CALmatters

Of course: California’s Rep. Dana Rohrabacher met with alleged Russian agent Maria Butina in 2015, her emails reveal, fueling more questions about his longstanding Kremlin connections. ABC News


Big jury award: Jurors awarded $45.4 million Thursday to a girl who suffered two years of sexual abuse in an El Monte home where county social workers left her despite evidence that an accused molester lived in the house. Los Angeles Times

Helping workers: The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday that employers must pay workers for the minutes they spend on brief tasks off the clock. Los Angeles Times

Remember this scandal? Three former Los Angeles Police Department cadets will face criminal charges in connection with a scandal that rocked the department’s signature youth program last year. Los Angeles Times


Saving the vaquita: To protect one of the most endangered species in the world, an international trade court judge ordered the Trump administration Thursday to ban all seafood harvested with gill nets in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. Los Angeles Times

Tahoe blues: Climate change is gradually warming Lake Tahoe, clouding its clarity and threatening its fabled ‘blueness,’ scientists at UC Davis warned Thursday.” Sacramento Bee


Comeback story: How Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp rebuilt his body and reclaimed his reputation. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A look at some of the pitchers the Dodgers could trade for. Los Angeles Times

Bad day for Zuck: Facebook’s stock, among the most widely held in the nation, dropped 19% after the company warned that its sizzling growth is slowing amid the user-privacy concerns and other controversies that have rocked the company in recent months. Los Angeles Times

And: Facebook’s stock plunge is shattering faith in the inevitable ascendance of tech companies. New York Times

Yum: The fate of Chef’d tells us where the meal-kit industry is heading. Los Angeles Times

Changing the curricula: Native Americans are pushing local schools to include their story in California history classes. EdSource


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 88, Friday. Sunny, 87, Saturday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 79, Friday. Partly cloudy, 78, Saturday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 68, Friday. Partly cloudy, 66, Saturday. San Jose: Sunny, 86, Friday and Saturday. Sacramento: Sunny, 103, Friday and Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from William MacNeil:

“In 1944, Uncle Harry was discharged from the Navy in Long Beach and arrived home extolling the virtues of the Los Angeles area. There were blue skies, great weather, terrific beaches, affordable education and reasonable housing. Thus was born a five-year plan by the Mother of each family to relocate to Southern California. A plan not exposed to all until well underway but acceptable, and on an early morning rainy day in September 1949, four adults and eight kids scrambled into a 1942 Beach wagon and proceeded to California. Driving cross-country we visited national parks and state attractions and have pleasant memories of seeing Niagara Falls, Mt. Rushmore and Notre Dame University. Eventually, 20 days later, we drove down Highway 66 into the San Gabriel Valley and began our California adventure with the fragrance of hundreds of beautiful orange groves that we now dearly miss in our lives.”

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.