Today’s Headlines: Firefighters continue defending South Lake Tahoe


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Caldor fire pushes toward Nevada

Firefighters made an all-out effort Tuesday to defend South Lake Tahoe and surrounding communities as the Caldor fire raced toward Nevada and forced another slew of evacuations.

Another day of strong winds and bone-dry conditions is still to come, and crews are bracing for a continuous battle against airborne embers and fast-moving flare-ups.


By Tuesday evening, the 190,000-acre blaze was only 16% contained, officials said, and 33,000 structures were threatened. The National Weather Service extended its forecast for intense winds moving to the east and southeast through 11 p.m. Wednesday evening, promising more challenges.

More wildfire headlines

— ‘Unprecedented’ Caldor, Dixie fires are the first to burn from one side of the Sierra to the other.

— As Caldor fire rages, beloved Echo Lake hideaway hangs in the balance.

— Evacuation centers are at capacity. Large portions of Highway 50 are shut down. Thousands of residents have fled their homes. But officials on the front lines of the raging Caldor fire insist they are ready.

— How to keep the air in your home clean when there’s wildfire smoke outside


Track the California wildfires

Biden defends decision to leave Afghanistan

President Biden on Tuesday described the evacuation from Afghanistan as an “extraordinary success” even though dozens of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies were left behind, and he defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the conflict.

“I was not going to extend this forever war,” he said from the White House.

He said diplomatic efforts would continue now that military operations have ended. The remarks were part of an effort to turn the page on the worst foreign policy crisis of his tenure. The frantic withdrawal, which ended America’s longest war, has garnered bipartisan criticism of the president.

More on Afghanistan

— Qatar played an outsized role in U.S. efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan. Now the tiny Arab gulf state is being asked to help shape what’s next for Afghanistan because of its ties with both Washington and the Taliban.

— Six families from a San Diego suburb have now made it safely out of Afghanistan after they went to the country earlier this summer to visit relatives and got stuck there. The whereabouts of two other families from El Cajon remained unclear.

Taliban has declared victory as Afghans assess their future after the West’s exit.

— Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello is seeking refuge for his guitar students in Afghanistan, whose lives are in peril under Taliban rule after the United States withdrew its military forces from the country.

Photos: America’s longest war ends as the last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan


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Kevin Faulconer has the resumé. But can he win the California recall race?

Faulconer is the most experienced politician heading into the Sept. 14 election, a Spanish-speaking Republican who spent six years running a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

But Faulconer is still struggling to break out of a pack of 46 candidates that includes a reality show star, a 66-year-old who brought a 1,000-pound bear to a news conference and Larry Elder, whose former fiancée accused him of checking to see whether his gun was loaded during an argument.

Faulconer may be the GOP’s best shot at winning statewide office in a one-on-one matchup with Newsom. But it’s been hard for moderates like Faulconer to gain traction in this campaign driven by extremes.

More California politics headlines


— Between now and Sept. 14, voters could be considering the state’s astronomical housing costs driven by decades of stunted home building, raising the question: What, if anything, would the replacement candidates do differently?

— Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in California made him a favorite target of conservative critics. So how would his GOP rivals govern during the pandemic?

— For a year and a half, protesters on both the left and the right have targeted public officials at their homes in Los Angeles, demonstrating at all hours to express their grievances over mask mandates, rent forgiveness and other issues. Now the City Council is seeking to tighten the rules around such protests.

State stimulus checks arrive in Californians’ bank accounts ahead of the recall election.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the latest action in Sacramento.

Over 80% statewide have gotten at least one vaccine dose


More than 80% of eligible Californians have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, a milestone Gov. Gavin Newsom characterized as a “momentous occasion” that nevertheless underscored that more needed to be done.

That level of vaccine coverage among residents 12 and older ranks ninth out of all states, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More top coronavirus headlines

— For months, ivermectin has been touted by people opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to prevent or treat COVID-19, despite the lack of scientific evidence the drug has any effect on preventing the disease. Health officials are now warning the public against it as reports of poisonings grow.

— The Los Angeles teachers union is calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible students and stricter quarantine rules while raising some objections to a new district mandate for online instruction when students are in quarantine.

— How L.A. County COVID rules could adversely impact USC and UCLA football teams


— Editorial: The Delta variant put school reopening in a quandary. Here’s how to fix it.

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

Our daily news podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll probably love our new daily podcast, “The Times,” hosted by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Every weekday, it takes you beyond the headlines. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify.


On Aug. 31, 1986, a single-engine light airplane and an Aeromexico DC-9 jetliner collided as the jetliner was preparing to land at Los Angeles International Airport at 11:55 a.m. Debris fell over a residential neighborhood near the corner of Carmenita Road and 183rd Street in Cerritos, causing further destruction and injuries, The Times reported.

Ultimately, 82 people were killed.

Three firefighters douse the crumbled remains of a building
Aug. 31, 1986: Firefighters put out the embers of a burned-out home and aircraft pieces.
(Michael Edwards / Los Angeles Times)


— The California Community Colleges system is investigating potentially widespread fraud involving fake “bot students” who are enrolled in active courses. Officials suspect it is a scam to obtain financial aid or COVID-19 relief grants.

Santa Monica vs. Malibu: A messy school district divorce over money and who gets the kids.

— California lawmakers are taking aim at Amazon and harsh algorithm-led work conditions. The bill, the first such legislation in the nation, would require warehouses to disclose quotas and work speed metrics.

— New rent relief is on the way for L.A. tenants and landlords. Here’s how to apply.

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— Even voters who like Kamala Harris worry about her future.


— The Texas Legislature sent a sweeping rewrite of the state’s election laws to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, dealing a bruising defeat to Democrats after a months-long, bitter fight over voting rights.

— The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has urged Benjamin Netanyahu to relinquish dozens of expensive gifts from leaders including former President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin that he received while serving as premier — gifts Netanyahu denies are in his possession.

— America’s lobster fishing industry will face a host of new harvesting restrictions amid a new push from the federal government to try to save a vanishing species of whale.


— The tumult continues at “Jeopardy!” with Mike Richards ousted as executive producer of the iconic game show. The announcement comes less than two weeks after he exited as host.

— Grounded by COVID, Patti Smith joined Substack and Instagram. But nothing replaced playing live.

— Netflix will test new interactive polls for some of its subscribers on four shows, including “Too Hot to Handle” and “Love is Blind.” Here’s how it will work.


— Outrage is valuable in art, and providing it has clearly been good for Kanye West’s business. But he reeks of desperation on the dispiriting, exhausting “Donda,” writes pop music critic Mikael Wood.


— The U.S. installed a record amount of wind energy generating capacity last year.

— Podcast: You probably haven’t thought about your local dry cleaner much lately. But if you’re in Southern California, they’re most likely Korean immigrants. The Times takes a deep dive into the history of the Korean dry cleaner in the United States.


— Fifty years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded Major League Baseball’s first all-Black lineup. It was a milestone for diversity and for baseball.

— For Oscar De La Hoya, fighting was a temporary distraction from his childhood traumas, which included the sexual abuse he revealed Monday and his complicated relationship with his mother. Now, at 48, he is stepping into the ring again, but this time it’s for himself.

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— The recall election is a new chance for anti-reformers to recycle old lies about “soft on crime” California, the editorial board writes. These candidates are really running against facts.

— Don’t attack the Supreme Court for the COVID eviction crisis. That’s Congress’ failure, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg.


If you’ve driven around the Bay Area lately, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted a driverless test car sharing the highway. But little robot car testing has been conducted in Southern California — until now. Driverless car technology company Motional says it will deploy “in the near term” a test fleet of new Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric cars in and around Los Angeles, fitted with its robotaxi technology. The company says the area’s car culture, traffic and tech industry made L.A. the right choice.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Seth Liss and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at