Newsletter: Today: Myth, Fear and the Reality of Fire

Fire experts have a message amid the tragedy: “We have to learn from this.”


Myth, Fear and the Reality of Fire

Drawing lessons from tragedy is never easy. But experts say the devastation caused by the Camp fire in Northern California — 79 people dead, some 700 still missing, more than 10,000 structures destroyed — makes it all the more imperative that we understand how to prevent a similar urban inferno. To them, the first step is to address the myths and fears surrounding wildland fires. The next: To protect our houses through defensible space, better building codes and zoning and moving beyond the tried and true. But that, they emphasize, requires cooperation and political will. What will it take? Read on.


More About the Fires

-- Those reeling from the deadly wildfires in California are bracing this week for a possible second blow: rain, which could bring flooding and mudslides.

-- U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has blamed the state’s fires on “radical environmentalists” who he said have prevented forest management.

-- Despite repeated fires and other disasters, emergency evacuations in California keep falling short.

-- Lilli Heart lost her home and workshop when Paradise burned. Still in shock, she wonders how to start over at age 72.

-- Photos before and after the Camp fire reveal a town destroyed.

Armed, Unauthorized and on Patrol

Remember the Minutemen, the self-proclaimed border patrollers of more than a decade ago? They’re back, this time as a caravan of migrants from Central America makes its way to the U.S. border seeking asylum. Though their presence is small — especially when compared to the Border Patrol and nearly 6,000 troops deployed by President Trump — unauthorized militia members with code names like Little Dog and Weasel are armed and on the lookout.


More Politics

-- A federal judge has barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally.

-- But her emails: Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of them last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.

-- Sixteen Democrats have publicly “committed to voting for new leadership” in the race for House speaker, putting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a precarious position as she tries to regain the post.


-- CNN has dropped its lawsuit against the White House after officials said they would restore reporter Jim Acosta’s press credential. The twist: new rules at presidential news conferences, including asking just one question at a time.

-- The White House correspondents’ dinner will not feature a comedian for the first time in decades. Instead, biographer Ron Chernow will speak.

‘This Is a Shock’

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy assigned to handle sex abuse crimes, often involving minors, has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl in a case he was investigating. News of the arrest has sent a tremor through the ranks of sex crime investigators, who are normally thoroughly vetted before receiving such assignments. As one retired sergeant in the special victims unit put it: “This is a shock.”


No Day at the Beach

Just looking at the pristine beaches and surf breaks of Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County, you’d never guess the legal messes surrounding them. But for decades, people have been battling over giving the public access to the 8.5-mile stretch. Back in the mid-1980s, coastal officials secured $1 million and entrusted it to the county — which, in turn, spent it on other projects. Now, as the fight to open Hollister Ranch heats up, some wish they had that money back.

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For one man in the Camp fire evacuation zone, caring for dogs and checking properties keep him busy.


Queen Elizabeth II’s marriage to Prince Philip is the longest of any British sovereign. They wed on this date in 1947 at London’s Westminster Abbey “in a ceremony of breathtaking beauty,” as the L.A. Times reported, and drove in a glass carriage past well-wishers shouting, “We want the bride.” See more pictures here.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, wave to the crowd from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on their wedding day, Nov. 20, 1947.
(Associated Press)



-- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the Crenshaw Line, a light-rail line through South L.A., is facing several construction problems and will not open next year.

-- Reports of a possible attempt by migrant caravan members to rush illegally through the San Ysidro Port of Entry prompted a temporary suspension of operations. It reopened without incident.

-- An act of kindness in Seal Beach: Customers are lining up early to buy up all the doughnuts at Donut City, so the owner can spend time with his ailing wife.



-- Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” has been the talk of the international film world and is expected to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. Does it live up to the hype?

-- Speaking of the Oscars, the Governors Awards ceremony (the one you don’t see on TV) gave even the Hollywood big shots a chance to bring out their inner fan.

-- What is it about movie actors playing rock gods? Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman and Rami Malek have all turned the dial up to 11, as it were, this awards season.


-- Start them up again: The Rolling Stones will bring their No Filter tour to the U.S. next year for a 13-city stadium tour that will include a stop at the Rose Bowl.


-- A Chicago police officer and two other people were killed in a shooting at a South Side hospital. The gunman was found dead.

-- Chickenpox has taken hold of a school in North Carolina where many families claim religious exemption from vaccines.


-- About 4,000 people fled Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire as red-hot rock and ash cascaded toward an area devastated by a deadly eruption this year.

-- Despite being on the brink, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is holding together for now, as a key partner says he won’t quit the coalition.

-- In a search for ancient life on Mars, NASA will send its next rover to explore Jezero Crater, the site of a former delta and lake.



-- Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., was arrested in Tokyo for alleged financial crimes. Columnist Michael Hiltzik says he’s an example of another CEO with too much power who is about to lose it all.

-- A toy called the Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw? Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s one of 10 toys highlighted by the advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm, a.k.a. WATCH, as being among the “worst toys of 2018.”


-- In the highest-scoring game in “Monday Night Football” history, the Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs 54 to 51. Before the game, first responders from the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks and the wildfires led the team onto the field.


-- Another homecoming awaits LeBron James as the Lakers play in Cleveland on Wednesday.


-- Find a permanent replacement for Matthew Whitaker as U.S. attorney general, and do it fast.

-- A proud Finn has a message Trump: We don’t rake the forest floor, but we do other things you should emulate.



-- Does Trump’s bashing of Bill McRaven, the commander who oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden and the capture of Saddam Hussein, fit a pattern of attacking war heroes? (Washington Post)

-- China: “the land that failed to fail.” (New York Times)

-- The “sex recession” among young Americans. (The Atlantic)



A watermelon is dropped from a building. Kersplat! A musician gives a stunning performance, then smashes his instrument. Crrrackkk! It could have been a classic episode of “Late Night With David Letterman” featuring musical guest the Who. Instead it was a Saturday at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Only the man dropping the melon was the Phil’s chief operating officer and the smashed instrument in question was a violin.

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