Tag: Californias

A COVID-safe interactive outdoor theater explores California’s fire season and life in 2020

The map that greets guests at the Paramount Ranch, once home to a scenic Western town before it was decimated by the 2018 Woolsey fire, is almost obstinately cheerful amid rolling heat waves that have brought deadly, devastating blazes throughout the West.



a group of people riding on the back of a horse: A pair of riders enjoy an afternoon at Paramount Ranch as Kevin Gossett and Francesca Africano, seated, participate in the interactive theater of "Fire Season." (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
A pair of riders enjoy an afternoon at Paramount Ranch as Kevin Gossett and Francesca Africano, seated, participate in the interactive theater of “Fire Season.” (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

“Welcome to ‘Fire Season!’ ” it reads.

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Yet the sign’s exclamation point amid our state’s worst fire season on record feels less like a willful contradiction than an acknowledgement that we’re all becoming too accustomed to yearly, overwhelming flames and the life-altering effects of climate change. Have we become defeated, rather than viewing the events around us as a call to action?

These are some of the questions

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California’s mandate to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 isn’t as crazy as critics think

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newson leaned over the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E and signed an executive order saying that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035.



a toaster oven sitting on top of a car: A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The new mandate doesn’t necessarily mean that California car dealers would, literally, sell nothing but fully electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles 15 years from now, several experts say.

That is the goal, though. And it’s not entirely

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NASA observations aid efforts to track California’s wildfire smoke from space

NASA observations aid efforts to track California's wildfire smoke from space
On Aug. 31, MODIS detected several hotspots in the August Complex Fire in California, as well as several other actively burning areas to the north, west, and south. Credit: R. Kahn/K.J. Noyes/NASA Goddard/A. Nastan/JPL Caltech/J. Tackett/J-P Vernier/NASA Langley

Wildfires have been burning across the state of California for weeks—some of them becoming larger complexes as different fires merge. One of those was the August Complex Fire, which reportedly began as 37 distinct fires caused by lightning strikes in northern California on Aug. 17. That fire is still burning over a month later.


The August Complex Fire and others this fire season have been sending far-reaching plumes of wildfire smoke into the atmosphere that worsen air quality in California and beyond. Predicting where that smoke will travel and how bad the air will be downwind is a challenge, but Earth-observing satellites can help. Included among them are NASA’s Terra and CALIPSO

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The fight over the fight for California’s privacy future

The fight over the fight for California’s privacy future

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

When state Senator Bob Hertzberg learned that an ambitious privacy initiative had gotten enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in California, he knew he had to act quickly.

“My objective,” he says, “was to get the damn thing off the ballot.”

It was the spring of 2018. Facebook’s emerging Cambridge Analytica scandal had cast a harsh light on the tech giants’ data-gathering practices, spurring calls for more consumer privacy protections. The initiative was the brainchild of Alastair Mactaggart, a wealthy San Francisco real estate developer, who had the idea in the shower in 2015 and funded the effort out of pocket. Mactaggart enlisted his neighbor Rick Arney and Mary Stone Ross, a former CIA analyst and lawyer, to help craft the ballot measure. None had any background in data privacy or, for that matter, anything related to the tech industry.

“No one knew who

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California’s catastrophic wildfires in 3 charts

The devastating wildfires tearing across California, Oregon, Washington and several other Western states are an increasingly familiar scene, as blazes have become larger and more destructive over the past several decades.

Seven of the top 10 most destructive fires in California’s history have occurred since 2015, and this year’s fires have already burned an unprecedented 3.1 million acres in that state so far, driven in part by lightning storms and an extreme heat wave.

The autumn winds that typically fuel the bulk of destruction during California’s wildfire season have already begun to blow, contributing to dangerous conditions like low humidity and dry vegetation that have helped fuel fires including the yet-uncontained August Complex, now the largest fire in California history.

Meanwhile, about 10 percent of Oregon’s population were placed under some level of evacuation notice last week, and although wildfires burned more slowly in that state over the weekend, smoke

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Fighting California’s future wildfires with revolutionary new VR technology

Every year it seems the wildfires sweeping through California cannot get worse – until they do.

The inferno currently devastating federal land just north of Sacramento, termed the August Complex Fire in Mendocino National Forest and ignited by a lightning strike three weeks ago, has already been classified as the Golden State’s worst in history. It is only 24% contained and already destroyed more than 471,000 acres.

According to Cal Fire officials, in 2020 alone, 3.1 million acres have blistered across California – a chilling statistic that many experts fear will only deepen.

However, makers of cutting-edge new technology vow that through means of new Virtual Reality (VR) 3D weather visualization, predicting future fires will become significantly easier and ultimately a game-changer, thus save lives and livelihoods in the process.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE DESTROYS FAMILY’S ICONIC STORE AND HOUSE HOURS APART

“California’s wildfires have shown that complex and dynamic weather conditions

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California’s fast-moving Creek Fire spawns ‘fire cloud’ visible from space

Fires continue to ravage California, with five new blazes igniting since Friday (Sept. 4).

The worst of those fires started on Friday and has already covered more than 75,000 acres (300 square kilometers). Called the Creek Fire, it has likely spawned fire tornadoes and forced the California Air National Guard to rescue more than 200 people trapped by the flames, according to the Washington Post.

Related: California wildfire damage spotted from space (photos)

A still from a NOAA animation of a pyrocumulonimbus cloud over California that was shared on Sept. 6, 2020.  (Image credit: NOAA)

The Creek Fire also created a staggering “fire cloud” that a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite could see from space. 

“@NOAA’s #GOES17 has been monitoring California’s #CreekFire, which grew explosively today after igniting in the Sierra National Forest on Friday,” NOAA’s public affairs office wrote on Twitter on Sunday

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