Today’s Headlines: Southern California’s first major wildfire of the season


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Sundowner winds stymie fire crews as Alisal fire explodes

There’s a time of year many Santa Barbara County residents fear, when the warm ocean breezes that typically meander in from the coast give way to fearsome, howling sundowner winds. They’re exclusive to the area’s topography and have stoked some of its worst wildfires, including the 2016 Sherpa fire.

It looked as though history might repeat itself Tuesday, as the Alisal fire swelled to more than 13,000 acres, marking Southern California’s first major wildfire of the season.


The U.S. will reopen Mexican, Canadian borders in November for fully vaccinated travelers

The U.S. will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S., regardless of the reason for travel, starting in early November.

More politics

— The House raised the nation’s debt ceiling, averting a default for about three months but setting up a tougher political hurdle for Democrats at the end of the year. The Senate had previously approved the increase, which now goes to President Biden’s desk.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

Pregnant patients were kept out of COVID clinical trials, making them vulnerable

Pregnant individuals faced “horrifying” risk from the surge of the Delta variant this summer, one doctor said. Experts say vaccination could have prevented most serious illnesses and deaths. But that message was slow to get out to pregnant women due to a long-standing tradition of excluding them from clinical trials of experimental medicines.

More coronavirus news

— On Thursday and Friday, the FDA will start the process of deciding whether extra doses of Moderna and J&J vaccines should be dispensed, and if so, when and to whom.

— The Port of Los Angeles will begin operating around the clock as the White House pushes to clear supply-chain bottlenecks threatening the holiday shopping season and slowing the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic, Biden administration officials said. Similar steps have already been taken at the Port of Long Beach.

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

Boiling inside Southland warehouses

When Rite Aid Corp. decided to build a giant warehouse to serve its Southern California stores in 1999, it chose an isolated stretch of the Mojave Desert. The land was cheap. The freeway was nearby. But during summers, the workers are boiling inside the mostly non-air-conditioned warehouse as Southland temperatures rise.

Rite Aid isn’t the only company affected: Fueled by customers’ growing addiction to one-day delivery and a pandemic-driven surge in online shopping, demand for warehouses has skyrocketed, and developers are heading deeper into the Inland Empire and the Central Valley.

Dodgers defeat San Francisco in Game 4 of the NLDS

Mookie Betts and Will Smith each hit two-run home runs and starting pitcher Walker Buehler was strong on short rest in a 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

The series is tied 2-2 heading into Thursday’s decisive Game 5 at Oracle Park in San Francisco. The winner will advance to play the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.

Investigators examine the role of port gridlock in the oil spill

With the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach facing unprecedented gridlock, investigators are trying to determine what role the congested shipping lanes played in the massive oil spill that has fouled the Orange County coast.

But more than a week after tens of thousands of gallons of oil gushed into the ocean, it’s clear the crisis is less severe than originally feared, thanks to luck, favorable weather conditions and an aggressive response from officials who had learned from previous oil spills.


One spill that provided lessons — and changed the course of environmentalism in the state — was the 1969 accident off Santa Barbara. From the vault, here’s a 1979 headline on the 10-year anniversary of the record-setting 3-million-gallon spill.

Santa Barbara oil spill from Los Angeles Times.
(Los Angeles Times)

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.


— As Santa Ana winds picked up, Pacific Gas and Electric warned 29,000 Californians that they could have their power shut off starting early Thursday. In the second wind-related “public safety power shut-off” this week, the utility warned that 19 counties in Northern and Central California could be affected in order to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines.

— A twin-engine plane that crashed in a San Diego suburb, killing at least two people and leaving a swath of destruction, nose-dived into the ground after repeated warnings that it was flying dangerously low, according to a recording.

— For five months, Robert Durst stood trial in a Los Angeles courtroom for the death of one woman that was inextricably linked to the disappearance of another. Now the family of Durst’s first wife is demanding to be heard at his sentencing.

— Nearly 130 colleges and universities in California do not require students applying for the fall 2022 semester to release their ACT or SAT scores, according to updated data from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.


Against a dark background, a man in a hat looks up.
Pat Vegas, a musician and producer of the band Redbone and member of the Yoeme tribe, attends an Oct. 11 celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day in downtown L.A., where Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to rename Father Serra Park — one of several policy initiatives intended to right historical wrongs.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Support our journalism

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


— For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an electronic cigarette, saying R.J. Reynolds’ Vuse vaping device could help smokers cut back on conventional cigarettes.

— Older adults without heart disease shouldn’t take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, an influential health group said. If finalized, the advice would backtrack on years of medical guidance.

— The Biden administration is again urging courts to step in and suspend a Texas law that has banned most abortions since early September.

— An errant U.S. drone strike killed 10 members of a family in Afghanistan. Their relatives are still awaiting compensation.


— Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell announced his retirement following the uproar over a concert performance that one attendee described as “the most chaotic show I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” Over the weekend, Harwell slurred his words, threatened the audience and appeared to give a Nazi salute to the crowd.

— Surprise! Hillary Clinton wrote a crime novel. Surprise again: It’s good, layering ethical tradeoffs, political intrigue, high-level espionage and pure evil, our reviewer writes.

— Susan Orlean explores our intense love of animals, especially donkeys, in “On Animals,” a companionable collection of her writing over the last two decades.


— Comedy-horror program “Last Podcast on the Left” announced it would no longer be exclusive to Spotify, becoming the second podcast to exit such a deal. The move is a sign of the growing competition for talent in the podcast space.

— Americans quit their jobs at a record pace in August. The Labor Department said resignations jumped to 4.3 million in August, the most since December 2000.

— Apple is likely to slash its iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product.


— Freddie Freeman hit a tiebreaking home run off Milwaukee closer Josh Hader with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Atlanta Braves advanced to the NL Championship Series for the second year in a row, finishing off the Brewers 5-4.

— Led by their October-tested stars, the Houston Astros are going back to the AL Championship Series for the fifth straight year.

— Jon Gruden’s emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments were just a few of the red flags found before his resignation from the NFL.

— The UCLA women’s basketball team, which is suddenly flush with depth, was picked to finish No. 3 in the Pac-12 coaches’ preseason poll, while rebuilding USC was projected to land at No. 9.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at


— Jon Gruden is the NFL’s latest “distraction” from its racism and misogyny. It’s quite clever how the NFL uses that word as a “get out of jail free” card, writes LZ Granderson.

— A third party to impose some pain on the Trumpified GOP? It may be the best bet for right-of-center voters, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg.


She’s conquered music and Twitter. The latest place to hear Dionne Warwick’s voice — that one-of-a-kind instrument that defined pop sophistication in the mid-1960s — is up a few flights of stairs behind a grimy storefront in Venice.

Part of the booming wellness industry, sound baths are guided meditation experiences that use ambient music to draw practitioners into a state of deep contemplation. Over the last few years, they’ve cropped up in increasing numbers across Los Angeles as celebrities such as Charlize Theron and Adele have extolled their virtues. But only one features the serene vocal stylings of Warwick.

Dionne Warwick wears sunglasses and a white cardigan in front of a blue wall.
Dionne Warwick at the Ohm Zone, a sound bath and meditation center in Venice.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

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