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Essential California: When the fire is coming fast and help is not

Essential California: When the fire is coming fast and help is not
The ruins of the Cypress Meadows Post-Acute skilled nursing facility in Paradise, Calif. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Nov. 17. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:

CALIFORNIA’S FIRES

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How do you evacuate a nursing home when the deadliest wildfire in California history is bearing down and you have 91 men and women to get to safety? Most can’t power themselves, some have dementia, a few weigh more than 300 pounds. The fire is coming. If you stay, you are dead. An unbelievable tale from Paradise. Los Angeles Times

-- The death toll from the Camp fire has risen to more than 70, with more than 1,000 people unaccounted for. The relentless rise in the number of dead and missing comes as President Trump plans to visit Northern and Southern California today to tour burn areas. Los Angeles Times

Destruction in Paradise, Calif.
Destruction in Paradise, Calif. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

-- The worst wildfires in recorded California history promise to reshape the state’s utilities as Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison face billions of dollars in potential liabilities and growing calls to overhaul their systems to better prevent wildfires. Los Angeles Times

-- California’s top energy regulator says he’s not too worried about a PG&E bankruptcy but says the state faces a bigger question. Sacramento Bee

-- The mystery over the “second start” of the Paradise fire. Chico Enterprise-Record

-- Parts of Northern California had the worst air of anywhere in the world on Friday. Los Angeles Times

-- Before and after the smoke: The day San Francisco went black and white. SF Gate

-- The Big Game between Stanford and Cal has been postponed for the first time in 55 years because of the poor air quality. San Francisco Chronicle

-- How the smoke is spreading. New York Times

-- In Chico, some evacuees don’t have access to showers and clean towels. So they came to this salon. Los Angeles Times

-- For those looking to rebuild, it’s going to be difficult. Construction workers are in short supply and the costs of some materials are rising. Los Angeles Times

--Is more logging the answer for California? Wall Street Journal

AROUND THE STATE

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GOP, RIP? California, the home of Ronald Reagan and other national GOP figures, may see its Republican representation fall to as few as eight seats in Congress. At the state level, the GOP faces impotence against a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature in Sacramento. Some worry about the effects of one-party rule in the nation's most populous and important state. Los Angeles Times

What happened? Some Republicans are asking how they lost it all in Orange County. A theory: It wasn’t because of Trump, but rather money, organization and demographics. Washington Examiner

Working for it: In her bid to become the speaker of the House again, Rep. Nancy Pelosi keeps trying to mend fences. Politico

Upset brewing: In the election for Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva has widened his lead over incumbent Jim McDonnell. The challenger says he’s won. Los Angeles Times

On the border: Tensions are rising in Tijuana as more Central American migrants arrive. San Diego Union-Tribune

Crosstown rivals: The usual high jinks before today’s big UCLA-USC football showdown. Los Angeles Times

Worth it? An iconic L.A. painting by David Hockney fetched $90.3 million at Christie's, easily breaking the record for a work by a living artist sold at auction. It has a symbolism for gay history, the L.A. lifestyle and arts. Los Angeles Times

THIS WEEK’S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA

1. Here's what one street in Malibu looks like after a wildfire ripped through. Desert Sun

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2. Martin Sheen is found by a news crew after son Charlie reports him missing in the Malibu fire. Hollywood Reporter

3. Despite fire after fire, Paradise continued to boom — until California's worst wildfire hit. Los Angeles Times

4. In-N-Out really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Alta magazine

5. How to deal with an insurer after your home is burned down. Los Angeles Times

ICYMI, HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S GREAT READS

A Hollywood master: “Nobody knows anything.” That was legendary screenwriter William Goldman’s mantra, and it influenced as well as inspired many generations of Hollywood figures. The author of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “All the President’s Men,” “The Princess Bride” as well as perhaps the most famous book about screenwriting has died at age 87. Los Angeles Times

What a coincidence: When a reporter interviewed the French street artist Invader, who has spent years making mosaics featuring Space Invaders video game characters, she discovered one of his works right outside her front door in L.A. Los Angeles Times

Time to say it? Is what we’re seeing from the White House these days propaganda? Los Angeles Times

Like, totally: The quirky Valley Relics Museum, that ode to L.A. suburbia, is ready to reopen. Los Angeles Daily News

Silly, but with a purpose: The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade used to be all about fun. Now there is a social justice element. LAist

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.

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