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Newsom, Harris survey Creek Fire damage
Vice presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris, right, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom speak with the media at Pine Ridge School in Auberry on Tuesday. (Photo: Ron Holman)
A day after President Donald Trump visited California and blamed poor forest management for recent wildfires, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris surveyed the damage caused by the Creek Fire on Tuesday afternoon. Harris addressed reporters in front of a charred playground, emptied due to the dual crises of COVID-19 and wildfires, the Visalia Times-Delta reported.
“This is not a partisan issue,” she said of global warming. “This is just a fact.”
The Creek Fire, which is burning on both sides of the San Joaquin River in Central California, is the state’s 12th largest as of Tuesday. Five of the state’s 20 largest fires are burning simultaneously. “Climate change is real,” Newsom said. “If you don’t believe in science, come to California and observe with your own eyes.”
Heat from the Creek Fire destroyed this truck Shaver Lake, California, as seen on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo: Trevor Hughes, Trevor Hughes-USA TODAY NETWORK)
Among those fighting the blazes are inmate firefighters, and they are facing longer and more dangerous days due to a shortage of prison fire crews, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The ranks of incarcerated firefighters have shrunk 30% from last year to this year, leaving a “critical gap” in resources amid a historic fire season. The shortage of prison fire crews has been exacerbated by the pandemic, because the state has released thousands of minimum-security offenders early to prevent the spread of the virus.
“You don’t really get to recover,” said a 35-year-old inmate working his second fire season. “The resources have been spread so thin.”
Observatory, Giant Sequoias under threat from flames; 15 people die in North Complex Fire
Creek Fire burns near Shaver Lake on Sunday, September 6, 2020. (Photo: Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta via USA TODAY Network)
As fires rage, farmworkers say masks in short supply
Farmworkers pick chiles in Mecca, Calif., in late April. They work in close proximity despite COVID-19. (Photo: Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)
Farmworkers have continued working outside amid the smoke from wildfires, even though availability of N95 masks is “as hazy as the orange sky in California this week,” CalMatters reports. State officials and agricultural groups say they have distributed millions of respirator masks, but farmworker groups say they have virtually none.
Under a state mandate, employers are required to make masks available to employees free of charge if the air quality index for particulate matter 2.5 exceeds 151. The statute also requires workers to wear masks if the AQI exceeds 500.
State’s COVID-19 rate reaches a record low
Pedestrians wear masks as they cross a street amid the coronavirus pandemic in Santa Monica, California. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Images)
In better news: Just 3.5% of Californians who got tested for coronavirus in the past seven days have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s the lowest rate since the state began reporting the data in late March, the Los Angeles Times reports. A month ago, the positive test rate was nearly twice as high.
That improvement is being seen across the state:
The city of Anaheim, meanwhile, is calling on Newsom to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the Orange County Register reports. About half of the city’s general fund budget comes from revenue tied to businesses around Disneyland and the city’s convention center. The city faces a $100 million budget deficit as a result of the extended coroanvirus-related closures.
‘Dismal’ postal performance, lawsuit threats and a concert in the desert
A still from “Live at Giant Rock.” Mario Lalli (left), Bill Stinson (center) and Gary Arce (right) of the local band Yawning Man recorded a live set at Giant Rock outside Landers, Calif. in May. (Photo: Courtesy of Chris Miller)
Stream El Grito tonight
Jesus Garcia and Anabel Carranza, both of Coachella, share a kiss while Porte Campirano performs during El Grito Fiestas Patrias in Coachella, Calif., on Saturday, September 21, 2019. (Photo: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun)
El Grito — an annual event that commemorates the 1810 Cry of Dolores, the battle cry of Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain — is typically held on the steps of L.A. City Hall. This year, it will be celebrated via a virtual telethon and concert and streamed at ElGrito2020.com, the L.A. Times reports.
L.A. council member Monica Rodriguez will host the event, which starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Grammy nominees Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Grammy-winning Mexican-American rock band La Santa Cecilia, U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors Ozomatli and the Mexico City-based cumbia-new wave band El Conjunto Nueva Ola will perform, the Times reports.
The event will raise money for Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo’s Undocu-Indigenous Fund. Audience members can donate directly from the website or by texting “ELGRITO2020” to 44-321.
In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register and LAist.
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