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Today’s Headlines: Caldor fire pushes closer to South Lake Tahoe

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Caldor fire pushes toward Lake Tahoe

Several spot fires erupted on the eastern edge of the Caldor fire as the growing blaze pushed closer to South Lake Tahoe, belching smoke that has caused record-breaking air pollution and spurring anxiety the fire could reach resort communities.

None of the spot fires jumped over firefighters’ containment lines, and authorities have not issued evacuation warnings or orders for the Lake Tahoe area. But nearly 30,000 people have already fled the fire as it has chewed its way through El Dorado County, and U.S. Forest Service officials recently ordered the closure of several backcountry areas near the lake, including Desolation Wilderness, Meiss Country, Barker Pass and McKinney/Rubicon.

With fire season far from over and much of the state in a drought, officials are warning that this year’s fires could end up competing with last year’s record-breaking season.

Last year, California recorded its worst fire season ever. Five of the 10 largest wildfires in state history occurred in 2020, including the August Complex fire, which tops the list as the first California wildfire to burn more than 1 million acres. It remains to be seen whether the Dixie fire will end up in that range. As of Tuesday, here’s where it stands.

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Coronavirus cases lead to missed school days for 6,500 LAUSD students during first week

Coronavirus cases resulted in 6,500 students missing one or more days during the first week of school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, as officials responded to early results from the nation’s largest school-based coronavirus testing effort.

L.A. Unified officials say they know of no cases that were transmitted from one person to another while on a campus since the start of school, although some parents have openly questioned that claim. At the moment, the Los Angeles County Health Department does not have any L.A. Unified campus on its list of schools with potential outbreaks.

The district released the data in response to a request from The Times and as part of a presentation Tuesday to the Board of Education.

Meanwhile, across the country, growing numbers of U.S. districts have halted in-person learning or switched to hybrid models because of rapidly mounting coronavirus infections.

More top coronavirus headlines

— After promising indications of leveling hospitalization numbers, Los Angeles County on Tuesday reported another uptick in new COVID-19 patients.

— As U.S. regulatory approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot paves the way for companies to get more aggressive with inoculations, American workers are increasingly supportive of punitive measures for unvaccinated colleagues.

— Three of Los Angeles County’s largest universities began in-person classes this week. Officials hope the strict safety protocols will be a strong enough shield against the campus outbreaks that threw universities into crisis mode a year ago — even with sparsely populated dorms and online classes.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

The Aug. 25, 1940, Los Angeles Times caption reported: “The new Palladium, ballroom-cafe, is now nearing midway mark in construction.

“Located in the heart of Hollywood between Argyle and El Centro Streets on Sunset Boulevard, the massive structure is expected to be completed in time for a typical Film City premiere opening on Oct. 15. The dance floor occupies 15,000 square feet.”

The ballroom opened on Halloween 1940. The event was covered here: From the Archives: 1940 opening of the Hollywood Palladium.

Aug. 15, 1940: The half-completed Hollywood Palladium sits on Sunset Boulevard.
(Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— One of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s top appointees at the Fire Department testified that her agency is “a very hostile work environment” for female firefighters — and accused Garcetti of failing to take the situation seriously.

— At least 24 students from the Cajon Valley Union School District in El Cajon and 16 parents are stranded in Afghanistan after taking a summer trip abroad.

— Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have expanded a case brought two years ago against the MS-13 gang, charging nine additional members with crimes and accusing the gang of four new murders.

— The family of a San Quentin prison guard who died of COVID-19 claim in a recently filed lawsuit that his death, along with 28 others, resulted from the botched transfer of infected inmates from a Southern California prison in May 2020.

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NATION-WORLD

— More than a week after the earthquake on Haiti’s southwestern peninsula killed at least 2,207 people, injured 12,268 and destroyed nearly 53,000 houses, a dilemma has emerged for the region’s limited healthcare services: how to turn over hospital beds when discharged patients have nowhere to go.

— Crews with chainsaws and heavy equipment cleared their way through trees densely matted with vegetation, garbage and building debris Tuesday as searchers scoured a normally shallow creek for more flooding victims in rural Tennessee.

President Biden appeared unwilling Tuesday to bend to pressure, including from European allies, to extend a massive Afghanistan evacuation effort, planning — for now — to stick to his deadline for troop withdrawal.

— More than 21,000 people were flown out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the 24-hour period that ended early Tuesday, U.S. officials said, the airlift’s biggest day since it began. But behind the scenes, the evacuation effort is chaotic, sorrowful, smelly, dirty — and dangerous.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Always just enough and never too much: The steadfast genius of Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones’ drummer who died Tuesday at age 80.

— Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit” and “Emma”) has work to do — a lot of it. And the messier the better.

— “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed,” is a serviceably uplifting chronicle of how a nature-loving soul turned a passionate gift into a cultural/business phenomenon, but it also has a story to tell about the unseen parts of his fame.

— The long-awaited release of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune” is finally approaching. The Times talked to the screenwriters about the principles that guided them as they took on what many consider to be the best sci-fi novel of all time.

BUSINESS

— “There’s only one way to create a billion-dollar franchise,” said Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC Theatres, in remarks Tuesday from the Colosseum stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. “Show movies in movie theaters first.”

— OnlyFans announced that it would stop allowing sexually explicit content starting in October — a major change for a site that has become synonymous with pornography, and one that now leaves many sex workers unsure of where they’ll go next.

SPORTS

— Six weeks before the trial of a former Angels employee is scheduled to start in connection with the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, federal prosecutors have accused the team of refusing to comply with a subpoena seeking information about members of the organization potentially distributing drugs.

— Commentary: Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC are feeling morally superior to SEC, but will a pact bring change?

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OPINION

— Column: Ashli Babbitt was not a peaceful protester. It’s clear why the cop who shot her was exonerated.

— Column: Why the Supreme Court is one of the biggest threats to American democracy.

ONLY IN L.A.

If 2021 is anything like last year, hordes of Angelenos will flock to the beach in mid-October, seeking refuge from a heat wave. Some will trek north, to Malibu’s high bluffs and boulder-lined shores; others will go south, to the picturesque La Jolla seaside.

And some people will head downtown, to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary, which will be transformed with 10 to 20 tons of locally sourced sand for “Sun & Sea,” the climate-crisis opera that earned the top prize at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The sand will come from an Irwindale quarry; after the production ends, it will be given to local schools and playgrounds to replenish sandboxes.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Seth Liss. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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