Adapting to Wildfires, RNC Takeaways, Sports and Racial Justice

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Adapting to Living With Intense Wildfires
Nearly 15,000 firefighters are battling hundreds of fires that have burned more than a million acres in California, claiming at least seven lives and destroying more than 2,000 structures, according to Cal Fire. In Northern California, lightning strikes nearly two weeks ago sparked the second and third largest wildfires in state history and led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents. Climate change is playing a role by making temperatures hotter and drying out vegetation earlier, creating more fuel for fires to quickly spread. Officials are also now reconsidering the wisdom of decades of aggressive fire suppression in the state.  Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to thin out up to a million acres by 2025 through clearing brush, logging trees and conducting prescribed burns.  


  • Scott Stephens, professor of fire science, UC Berkeley

Republican National Convention Ends as Presidential Race Heats Up
The Republican National Convention took place this week with President Trump breaking with tradition by appearing every night, rather than only on the final evening. The president’s children spoke prominently throughout the event, along with members of Congress, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate. Most of the speakers downplayed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed more than 180,000 lives in the U.S., while also accusing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, of being radical socialists who would endanger the safety and prosperity of Americans. In another break with tradition,  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first person in his position to address a national political convention in at least 75 years. He praised the president’s “America First” policies, speaking from the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. In his convention speech on Thursday night, which he delivered from the White House, Trump called Biden “a Trojan horse for socialism.”


  • Marisa Lagos, KQED politics and government correspondent
  • Lanhee Chen, fellow, Hoover Institution 

Shooting of Jacob Blake Spurs Athletes to Boycott Games
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shooting has spurred protests, some of which turned violent on Tuesday night. Wisconsin’s governor ordered the deployment of National Guard troops to Kenosha and on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it would open a civil rights investigation. The walkout by the Bucks led to the cancellation of NBA playoff games on Wednesday and Thursday. It also inspired athletes in other sports to join in solidarity, including the cancellation of three WNBA basketball games, five Major League Soccer games and three Major League Baseball games, including one with the San Francisco Giants. Four NHL Stanley Cup playoff games were also postponed on Thursday and Friday after hockey players on the eight teams in the playoffs joined in solidarity to protest systemic racism and to use their sport “to influence positive change in society.” 



  • Shaun Anderson, assistant professor of organizational communication, Loyola Marymount University
  • Mark Willard, host, The Mark Willard Show