The Short List

Headlines for Tuesday, December 12 2017

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1 / 10

High and dry

The Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties — now the fifth largest fire in state history — continues to devour coastal mountains. "It doesn't get much drier than this folks," the National Weather Service Service tweeted amid near nonexistent humidity. Santa Ana winds and a critical lack of moisture have extended Red Flag warnings into the week. Updated numbers: nearly 366 square miles burned, 20 percent containment, 683 homes destroyed. See details on evacuations, road closures, school closures and more.
Read full story at KPCC >
2 / 10

Cooking fire

LAFD says an illegal cooking fire at an encampment is what started the Skirball Fire, which stopped traffic on the 405 last week as it raced up the Sepulveda Pass and into Bel Air. Investigators say it began in the brush along Sepulveda Boulevard, where the street passes under the freeway. The fire burned more than 400 acres and destroyed six homes. It was 85 percent contained on Tuesday.
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3 / 10

Invasive and flammable

Growing between native coastal sage brush and chaparral are invasive grasses like wild oats, red brome and foxtail that have provided fuel for fires in Ventura, L.A. and Santa Barbara counties. "The invasive grasses have had a major role in most of the fires this year," a UC Riverside earth sciences professor said. "And the amount of grass and biomass was unusually high this year because of the heavy rains last winter."
Read full story at KPCC >
4 / 10

Support system

Los Angeles has opened a help center for people impacted by the Skirball, Rye and Creek fires. It will be open through Saturday in Lake View Terrace, and officials want it to be "a one-stop shop" for residents and business owners seeking information and assistance from government agencies, utilities and aid groups. From insurance, to veterans’ affairs, to animal services, see the full list of resources and hours of operation.
Read full story at KPCC >
5 / 10

'A powerful sense of human decency'

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has died at age 65. Lee, the city's first elected Asian-American mayor, embraced the "Sanctuary City" label and worked to combat homelessness. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called Lee a "true progressive, a fighter" who believed in government's ability to help people. "Ed Lee’s unfaltering belief in justice, fairness, and equality for all not only served San Francisco, it touched people throughout California and the world," Garcetti said in a statement.
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6 / 10

No chill

The Arctic — Earth's global air conditioner — continues to warm at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, on average. This year was the Arctic's second-warmest in at least 1,500 years — the warmest year was 2016. One simulation found that a warmer Arctic brings, among other things, changes to air circulation over the Pacific that steers rain away from California, making the state 10-15 percent drier.
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7 / 10

Dead tree addition

A new aerial survey from the U.S. Forest Service found an additional 27 million trees died in California last year because of lingering effects of the drought. This brings the total number of trees killed statewide to a staggering 129 million since 2010. In a typical year, about 1 million trees die. Drought often kills trees indirectly — deprived of water, trees become weakened and can't fight diseases, fungus or bark beetles.
Read full story at KPCC >
8 / 10

On the go

The city will be placing mobile restrooms — meaning toilets, sinks and showers — for homeless people at four sites across Los Angeles. The move, part of a six-month pilot program, was largely motivated by recent cases of hepatitis A — which is spread through fecal matter. The mobile units will be located in Wilmington, Venice, downtown L.A. and South Park.
Read full story at KPCC >
9 / 10

Bitcoin believers

As Bitcoin moves slowly toward the mainstream, some L.A. businesses are accepting it as a payment option. For Francisco Dominguez at Meltdown Comics, Bitcoin's rise is vindicating. "I'm giddy," he told KPCC. "I've been telling everybody 'Bitcoin, Bitcoin' left and right. They always thought I was talking crazy. ... Now, everybody wants to know." Meltdown is one of the few places in L.A. you can find a Bitcoin ATM to swap cash for cryptocurrency. "It's a future machine," he said.
Read full story at KPCC/Take Two >
10 / 10

Dare to be stupid

Highlights from this week's new and notable music starts with a 15-album, accordion-shaped collection of exquisite absurdity — "Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of Weird Al Yankovic." Also out now is Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' "Soul of a Woman," released a year to the day after Jones’s death from cancer. Rounding out the top three is the fourth album from L.A. R&B artist Miguel. Listen to the segment from Take Two.
Read full story at KPCC/Take Two >