100,000 People Evacuated, Interstate 5 Closed North Of L.A.
A wind-driven brush fire that started in the community of Sylmar in northern L.A. last night has burned homes and vehicles and forced the closure of portions of four freeways, including the I-5. Mandatory evacuations have been declared in the communities of Granada Hills and Porter Ranch because of the blaze, now called the Saddleridge Fire. The evacuations have affected about 23,000 homes as the blaze has burned over 4,700 acres.
California Names The Winds
The utility Southern California Edison and L.A’s Department of Water and Power have implemented planned blackouts, just like PG&E has in northern California. This time of year in California is known for Santa Ana and other named winds, and authorities worry that high winds might spark a blaze along power lines. I talked about the danger of wind and fire in California with Craig Clements. He directs San Jose State’s Fire Weather Research Laboratory.
Guest: Craig Clements
Democratic Donor Faces Federal Charges For Overdose Deaths
In Los Angeles, prominent liberal political contributor Ed Buck plead not guilty yesterday to federal charges in connection with the overdose deaths of two gay black men at his West Hollywood home. This comes after the Los Angeles District Attorney charged Buck with running a drug den, but not with the deaths.
Reporter: Larry Buhl, KCRW
PG&E CEO Responds To Rampant Criticism
PG&E says their controversial power shutoffs are still in effect for 245,000 customers. Yesterday CEO Bill Johnson made his first public appearance since the utility started saying it would cut power earlier this week. PG&E's been criticized for powering down such a vast portion of its grid, and for failing to keep residents informed. PG&E's website has been down for much of this week for many customers.
Governer Newsom Signs Several Affordable Housing Bills
It’s been a hectic week for Governor Gavin Newsom because of the state’s blackouts, arguably the greatest crisis since he assumed office. But facing a legislative deadline this weekend, Newsom still had the time to sign bills passed by the state legislature into law. They include a dozen new bills aimed at creating new affordable housing options.