California wildfires

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In California, Crews Battle Fire Tornadoes

State's first big wildfire of the year erupted Friday, is still 0% contained

(Newser) - After a slow start to the wildfire season, California is feeling the heat with its biggest blaze of the year. First spotted Friday in the New York Mountains area of the Mojave National Preserve in eastern San Bernardino County, the York Fire had burned thorough 77,000 acres as of...

California Winemakers Doubling Up as Firefighters

'We play with pumps and hoses, too, except our hoses are full of wine'

(Newser) - Wildfire season is approaching in California—and winemakers are prepared. After devastating fires in Northern California wine country in recent years, winemakers have rebuilt with fire-resistant materials and learned firefighting techniques, the BBC reports. Alan Viader at Viader Vineyard and Winery in Napa Valley became a qualified firefighter after the...

100-Plus Homes Were Destroyed. Now, an Arrest

Edward Wackerman, 71, is suspected of setting devastating blaze in Mariposa County, California

(Newser) - An elderly man who lives near Yosemite National Park has been arrested after a forest fire there last year destroyed more than 125 homes. The AP reports that Edward Wackerman of Mariposa was taken into custody Friday, suspected of setting last summer's Oak Fire that burned nearly 20,000...

Another Insurer Stops Selling California Homeowner Policies

Allstate has put new policies in the state on pause

(Newser) - Another big insurance company has quietly stopped selling home insurance in California. Allstate, which in 2021 was the fourth-largest property and casualty insurance provider in the state, is no longer writing new homeowner, condo, or commercial insurance policies there, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The company says the pause on...

California Fire Levels Homes
Wildfire Rips Through Homes

Wildfire Rips Through Homes

About 100 structures are lost to California blaze that sent residents fleeing

(Newser) - A wind-swept wildfire in rural Northern California tore through a neighborhood and destroyed about 100 homes and other buildings, fire officials said Saturday after at least two people were injured and thousands were forced to evacuate. The Mill Fire started shortly before 1pm Friday just north of Weed, a city...

Wildfire Wipes Out Scenic California Hamlet

At least 4 Klamath River residents died in devastating McKinney Fire

(Newser) - The scenic Northern California hamlet of Klamath River was home to about 200 people, a community center where they gathered, a corner store, and a post office. But the wildfire raging through the forested region near the Oregon state line jumped the river last weekend, killing four residents of the...

Thousands Ordered Out of Homes as Fire Nears Yosemite
Crews Can't
Fire Near


Crews Can't Contain Fire Near Yosemite

Blaze burns out of control in high heat, low humidity

(Newser) - Update: The wildfire raging near Yosemite National Park, which has become one of California's biggest of the year, remains out of control. And officials said the forecast for Sunday is not encouraging, the AP reports. "Today the weather is expected to remain hot with minimum humidity between 5...

California's Biggest Landowner Closes Forests to Public

Sierra Pacific Industries cites wildfire risk

(Newser) - Sierra Pacific Industries, the largest private landowner in America, says its forest lands in California will be closed to the public starting Friday. The company, which owns 2.33 million acres of land in California, Oregon, and Washington, normally allows the public to use land that isn't being actively...

Man Who Started Fire That Killed Condors Gets 24 Years

2020 California fire nearly killed 14 firefighters

(Newser) - A man who started a 2020 wildfire that killed 12 endangered California condors and seriously injured a firefighter has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison. Ivan Gomez, 31, was sentenced Wednesday by a Monterey County judge for setting the Big Sur Dolan fire while illegally growing marijuana in...

Wildfire Shuts PCH at Big Sur
Big Sur Fire Shuts Highway 1

Big Sur Fire Shuts Highway 1

Winds up to 70mph are expected in Southern California, as well

(Newser) - A wind-driven wildfire broke out late Friday in the rugged mountains above Big Sur, forcing residents to evacuate their homes and authorities to shut down a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. The fire started in a canyon and was pushed by 35mph winds to the sea, jumping the highway and...

California Wildfires Ruined a Winery's Grapes. It Had a Plan

Napa Valley's Pine Ridge Vineyards is now producing vodka made from the smoke-tainted fruit

(Newser) - When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When it hands you ruined grapes, make ... vodka? That's what Napa Valley's Pine Ridge Vineyards opted to do when its grape crops were sullied by smoke from last year's California wildfires, thanks in part to a partnership with an Almeda...

Fire That Threatened LakeTahoe Region Is Now 100% Contained
Father, Son Accused of
Starting Caldor Fire

Father, Son Accused of Starting Caldor Fire

California wildfire burned for 67 days before it was contained

(Newser) - Update: A father and son stand accused of reckless arson in the California wildfire that threatened the storied Lake Tahoe region, the Sacramento Bee reports. After a monthslong investigation involving multiple search warrants, David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, were on Thursday taken into custody on a...

Thousands of Sequoias Must Be Chopped Down

Trees pose danger after California wildfires

(Newser) - Thousands of California's famed giant sequoias are doomed in the wake of devastating wildfires that have swept the Sierra Nevada. Per ABC News , upwards of 10,000 of the trees, which can reach 275 feet and live for 3,000 years or more, must be culled for safety reasons....

Calif. Wildfires Deliver a 'Heartbreaking' Loss

Hundreds of giant sequoias are believed to have burned

(Newser) - Northern California wildfires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they swept through groves of the majestic monarchs in the Sierra Nevada, an official said Wednesday. "It's heartbreaking," Christy Brigham, head of resources management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, told the AP...

Jury Awards Shannen Doherty $6.3M to Rebuild Her House

Actress had sued insurance company over settlement after wildfire

(Newser) - Update: A Los Angeles jury has agreed that Shannen Doherty is owed more money by her insurer after her house was hit by a wildfire—to the tune of $6.3 million. The actress had sued, arguing that the house was so damaged that it needed to be rebuilt, while...

Woman Allegedly Sparked Wildfire Trying to Boil Water

Alexandra Souverneva hit with multiple charges in California

(Newser) - The woman who was arrested after walking out of a Northern California wildfire near the fire line has now been charged with arson. Authorities say Alexandra Souverneva, 30, was trying to hike to Canada when, she told them, she found a puddle of water to drink but wanted to sterilize...

Woman Walks Out of Brush Near Fire Line, Is Arrested

Alexandra Souverneva accused of arson in Fawn Fire, which has forced evacuations of 4K

(Newser) - A fire that erupted Wednesday in California's Shasta County has quickly spread to cover 5,500 acres , forcing thousands of people out of their homes. It's also prompted an arrest. Cal Fire and Shasta County Fire said employees spotted a white woman trespassing on property accessed through two...

Special Blankets Helped Save World's Biggest Trees

Recent controlled burns also kept sequoias safe in California

(Newser) - The general is safe, for now. The reference is to the world's biggest tree, known as General Sherman, in California's Sequoia National Park, reports NPR . Encroaching wildfires had forest workers scrambling to protect the ancient trees last week, and their efforts appear to have paid off. Not only...

Lake Tahoe Residents 'Thankful to Be Alive'

They're returning home, though Caldor Fire is only 50% contained

(Newser) - Residents are returning to the Lake Tahoe resort area more than a week after evacuation orders spurred by the Caldor Fire , though full containment is still weeks away. More than 53,000 people had been ordered to evacuate by Sept. 1. At that time, officials expected full containment by Wednesday....

'This Fire Does Stuff I’ve Never Seen Before'

Firefighters make progress in Tahoe battle, but danger remains

(Newser) - Firefighters battling to save the Lake Tahoe resort area got some help from the weather overnight. Operations section chief Tim Ernst told firefighters Wednesday morning that they had "lucked out" with winds that were not as fierce as expected, allowing them to make progress defending the South Lake Tahoe...

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