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www.theguardian.com: Wildfires raging across California 'historic' – as it happened

Added: 28.11.2020 19:18 | 13 views | 0 comments

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Thanks for sticking with us through our coverage today. We’ll be back tomorrow with more news about the California wildfires.

I surveyed the Alameda County fire damage along Calaveras Resevoir today. Thank you residents for cooperating with evacuation orders and warnings.


Here’s a map of the fires burning throughout California at the moment:

Statewide fire map for Monday, August 24. Thank you to all who are helping keep California safe!


This “historic” spate of California wildfires have so far displaced hundreds of thousands during a pandemic, killed seven, destroyed at least tens of thousands of structures, burned through the equivalent acreage of a small state and sent plumes of smoke over several regions, forcing millions indoors during a heat wave.
Yet the country’s paper of record – the New York Times – seems unwilling to feature this incredibly newsworthy disaster that has affected millions of Americans prominently on its pages.

California's record-setting wildfires have displaced 120k and are spreading uncontrolled. There's more lightning on the way.
This country's premier news operation is parking coverage at the bottom of screen three, after a "live" section for a TV event that starts in 2.5 days.

The fires are off the front page entirely today.


The massive LNU Lightning Complex Fire is burning within miles of two California state prisons, including one that imprisons terminally ill people in hospice care, the elderly and medically vulnerable.
My brilliant colleague Sam Levin reports that authorities have resisted calls to evacuate the California Medical Facility and Solano state prison.


It appears that the smoke from the wildfires in California has gotten so intense that it has spread clear across the country.

Smoke from out west is actually reaching our area. We won't see poorer air quality, but we will see more colorful sunrises & sunsets

The smoke arrives sometime on Tuesday afternoon. Currently not expecting much in the way of surface air quality problems since this should mostly remain aloft, but you will definitely notice it in the sky this week

Smoke from continues to impact us, in effect through Wednesday. Seeing some signs of improvement from Tam cam. Hoping for better air quality soon!


This is how you evacuate 600+ goats.

Successful goat evacuation! says their goat ranger had to evacuate their 600+ goats when the sparked last week. They all made it safely out.


The largest wildfires that firefighters are battling in California at this moment are called lightning complex fires. Cal Fire has referred to the past week as the August Lightning Siege.

Timelapse footage captured a severe tropical storm that battered parts of northern California, as lightning illuminated the sky over Pacifica and officials issued a red flag fire warning.


As evacuees fled their homes, carrying just what they could pack into their cars, some were forced to roll out their sleeping bags and set up for the night in a community park.
Photographer Rachel Bujalski captured a devastating snapshot of the choices that some evacuees faced while escaping the LNU Lightning Complex fire.


Tens of thousands around California have had to evacuate since the lightning fires began last week. Some have been able to return to their homes, but others are not so fortunate.
Which raises the question: how do you set up emergency evacuation shelters in the time of social distancing and Covid-19?

THANK YOU for protecting Santa Cruz County from these raging wildfires.
Thank you staff, , and community members for the safe evacuation of campus.
Thank you for feeding our students at the evacuation center.


Two of the lightning complex wildfires burning around the San Francisco Bay Area have grown to the size of the second- and third- largest in California history.
The LNU Lightning Complex Fire, burning in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo and Lake counties, has now grown to 350,000 acres and 22% containment, according to the governor.


The governor used the term “historic” to describe the wildfires.
Here’s some context, with more up-to-date numbers. This time last year, California had 4,292 wildfires burning across 56,000 acres.


The lightning event that everyone was dreading resulted in 289 lightning strikes that sparked 10 new fires, Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, said.


Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, will be providing an update on the wildfires as well as the pandemic.
We’ll be providing a summary of his briefing, but you can follow along here as well:

LIVE NOW: Governor provides an update on the state’s response to wildfires and the pandemic.


Wildfires have burned more than 1.27 million acres – 1,988.7 square miles – of California since 31 July.
That’s more than the size of Delaware. That’s two times the size of Luxembourg.

The latest numbers on the Aug. Lightning Siege that has charred 1.2 million acres since Aug. 15. We are grateful for the 91 fire engines from Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Utah, Washington to assist us in battling more than 2 dozen major wildfires.


Northern California health officials are telling residents to stay inside, to protect themselves from the poor air quality caused by the wildfire smoke. But for many, that’s not an option.
A vulnerable, essential labor force – the more than 381,000 agriculture workers in California – already by the coronavirus pandemic as others flee and take shelter.

The smoke is thick where farm workers were laboring harvesting strawberries in the Salinas area. Thank you for sending us this video documenting the hard work in difficult conditions farm workers do so we can have food on our tables.


The three wildfires burning around the San Francisco Bay Area have grown to a total size larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Surveying the SCU Lightning Complex -- this is now the third largest wildfire in CA history.


Northern California braced itself for a dry lightning event last night. After all, a number of the hundreds of wildfires currently burning in the state - the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire just to name a few - were sparked by lightning.
Yet while strikes in the Central Valley and westerns Sierra foothills may have sparked new fires, they were “less widespread and intense than earlier feared.”

Finally some good news to report: last night's dry lightning event was less widespread & intense than earlier feared. Nearly all lightning spared Bay Area, though there were strikes in Central Valley & western Sierra foothills that may have sparked new fires. (1/3)

What happened? Well, there was *plenty* of elevated convection just above everywhere, but it wasn't *quite* deep enough to generate much lightning. Models were slightly off with timing, and may have underestimated smoke effect, and that made all the difference. (2/3)

We have CANCELLED the Red Flag Warning.
Stay weather aware as weak cells are still over the North Bay; however, most moisture has moved north of our area and instability has decreased giving us confidence to let the warning expire early.

Also: we still aren't totally out of the woods in NorCal. Dry thunderstorms are still expected today, mainly in northern 1/3 of state but possibly clipping North Bay. These could yet spark new fires. But all in all, a better than expected outcome. (3/3)


Hey all, Vivian Ho on the west coast taking over the liveblog for the day.
The San Francisco Bay Area received a light reprieve in the way of rain last night, a part of the lightning event that ended up being “” in the region as earlier predicted.

It’s pouring rain in north Oakland. My neighbors are cheering in the street. Hopefully this travels to help out our firefighters ❤️


Firefighters and residents in North California have been given a boost this morning, as predicted bad weather has so far evaded the state.
Humidity rose on Monday, Associated Press reported, and there was no return of the onslaught of lightning strikes that ignited the infernos a week earlier.


ABC News has this video from firefighters driving through a wildfire. According to the news channel 14,000 firefighters have now been deployed in California.

First-person video shared by California firefighters gives a glimpse of what it's like to drive through massive wildfire burning south of San Francisco.
More than 14,000 firefighters are battling numerous wildfires raging across the state.


The San Lorenzo Valley water district, 70 miles south of San Francisco and 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, has lost 4.5 million gallons of water after fire melted a main water pipeline.
KSBW8 reported that the five mile long pipe melted due to intense heat from San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.


The Ranch Fire, which in California in 2018, is the largest fire in state’s history.
According to the latest statistics from the California department of forestry and fire protection (Cal Fire) two of the fires burning outside of the San Francisco Bay Area are not far behind.

in Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano county is 350,030 acres and 22% contained.

in Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Joaquin County, and Stanislaus County is 347,196 acres and 10% contained.


Sparked by a rare lightning storm and stoked by hot, windy weather, into the Sierra Nevada, southern California, and regions north, east and south of San Francisco, .
Maanvi has written on how the fires started and began to rage out of control:
A confluence of extreme weather conditions set the stage, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. First came a record-breaking, continuing heatwave across the state. Temperatures in Death Valley hit 130F and the state saw rolling blackouts for the first time in nearly two decades as millions of Californians seeking to cool their homes strained the electrical grid.
Next, a tropical storm in the Pacific Ocean spun moisture toward California, triggering a rare lighting storm that zapped California more than 10,800 times over a three-day period, sparking small fires across the Bay Area and northern California. Then the humidity dropped and winds picked up, stoking the small flames until they erupted into full-blown infernos.


Firefighters in California are not just at risk from the blazes which have besieged the state – they also pose a potential coronavirus threat, to themselves and others.
Public health officials are increasingly concerned that the 12,000 firefighters – many of them from out of state – could trigger a super-spreader coronavirus event as they tackle the fires, :
The concerns are multilayered. Most important: No one wants firefighters to get sick, for their own sake. Also, the state can’t afford to pull crews off duty when staff resources are so thin. With personnel coming to the region from throughout the state as well as other parts of the country, public health experts fear a “super-spreader” event if someone infected on the front lines brings the virus back home.
“It’s the perfect storm: Bring people in from all over the western United States to work together in a communal setting, and then send them back,” said John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert who also advised the U.S. Forest Service.


Almost 250,000 people are under fire evacuation orders and warnings in California, as three huge fires continue to rage around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Firefighters are bracing on Monday for more damage, as the National Weather Service (NWS) that fast moving storms will lead to a risk of new fires erupting.

Lee Miller: The Inspiration Behind Jessica May

Added: 27.11.2020 19:32 | 3 views | 0 comments


As I mention in the Author’s Note at the back of The Paris Orphan, I first heard of Lee Miller when I was researching my previous book, . There was a throwaway line in an article that mentioned Miller and other female war correspondents who, after World War II had ended, had not been able to continue working as serious journalists because the men had returned from overseas and taken all of the available jobs.

It caught my attention. What would it have been like to report on a war and then come home to America and be assigned completely different work? After the war, Lee Miller was relegated to photographing fashion or celebrities during the winter season at Saint-Moritz. She was also an occasional contributor of recipes for Vogue.

That article was the start of my fascination with her. I went looking for more. And I found a story so incredible I couldn’t help but be inspired by it.

Miller the Photojournalist

Miller was a photojournalist for Vogue during World War II. She took some extraordinary photographs: she stumbled upon the battle for Saint-Malo in France and photographed the U.S. Army’s first use of napalm there. She reported from Paris, Luxembourg, Alsace, Colmar, Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Torgau, among other places. She was one of the first to document the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. And she was the subject of an iconic photograph, bathing in Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, having left her filthy boots to drop the dirt of Dachau, as she put it, all over the Fuhrer’s pristine white bathroom.

Miller the Model

But Lee Miller started on the other side of the lens. She was discovered by Condé Nast on the streets of Manhattan and became a famous model for magazines like Vogue during the 1920s. I decided to use this as the starting point for my character, Jessica May, as I was fascinated by that transition. How did a woman who was so obviously beautiful manage in the male and often chauvinistic environment of an army during a war?

Just as Condé Nast discovers Lee Miller, he also discovers Jess in The Paris Orphan and Jess is one of his favorite models, as Miller was. However, to suit my story better, I moved time forward to begin Jess’s modeling career in the early 1940s.

Miller’s modeling career ended when a photograph of her was used by Kotex in an advertisement for sanitary pads. It’s so hard to imagine that this could end a career, but it did. To be seen as the “Kotex Girl” was a stigma so dreadful that no magazine wanted to use pictures of Miller again. So Miller moved to France, where she became Man Ray’s lover. He helped her develop her photography skills and she became a well-regarded surrealist photographer.

I used these elements when creating Jess’s character too. Jess has to stop modeling after a photograph of her is used by Kotex, Jess has a French photographer as a lover, and solarization is a trademark of her work, as it was Miller’s.

The Intersection of Fiction and Reality

Miller actually reported for British Vogue during the war, although many of her pieces appeared in American Vogue too. For ease of the story, I have Jess working for American Vogue in The Paris Orphan.

Jess follows in Miller’s footsteps in The Paris Orphan, working out of a field hospital when she first arrives in France after D-Day. I have given the room used by Lee Miller at the Hotel Scribe in Paris to Jess, complete with a balcony piled high with fuel cans and an acquaintance with Picasso. Miller is called la femme soldatby the joyful Parisians after the city is liberated, as is Jess. Miller stays at Hitler’s apartment in Munich and is photographed in Hitler’s bath, as is Jess in The Paris Orphan.

After the War

One of the most heartbreaking parts of Miller’s story is what happened to her after the war. She suffered from post-traumatic stress after viewing and recording so many horrors, and she tried to forget that she was ever a witness to war and all its atrocities. So effective was she at excising this from her past that, when she died at age seventy, her son, Roland Penrose, had no idea of what she had done during the war. Her work was largely forgotten.

One day, Penrose’s wife found boxes of photographs and films in the attic at Farley Farm, Miller’s home. They contained Miller’s correspondence with her Vogue editor and wartime paraphernalia. Penrose immediately understood that he had made an incredible discovery, that his mother had been a true artist, and that her words and pictures had—once upon a time, until she let the world forget them—meant something.

He resurrected Lee Miller and her work. She is now widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent war correspondents and photographers. The idea that she had been all but forgotten haunted me, and this inspired the scenes set in contemporary times in The Paris Orphan, when D’Arcy Hallworth finds an attic full of photographs and an extraordinary legacy that should never have been lost to the past.

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