THE LATEST

Help us rise to the challenge of covering the coronavirus crisis. Our journalism is free for all to access. But we rely on your support. Donate today to power our journalists.


Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):




THE L.A. REPORT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY LLOYD PEST CONTROL

Martindale Fire Ignites Near Santa Clarita, 'Forward Progress' Stopped At 300 Acres

Updated
Published
Image of the Martindale Fire shared via Twitter by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations (Courtesy Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations)

This story is no longer being updated. Check these official sources overnight for updates:


Jump to: Evacuations | Closures | Air Quality | Weather Conditions | Additional Resources


The Martindale Fire broke out northeast of Santa Clarita this afternoon, growing to more than 300 acres in less than two hours.

The fire was spreading quickly through medium brush and seemed to be moving to the southeast, through an area which previously burned in the 2007 Buckweed Fire. Good news came at just before 7 p.m. when authorities reported forward progress on the fire had been stopped.

This fire comes on the heels of a Red Flag Warning that was issued by the National Weather Service in Oxnard over the weekend but is set to expire this afternoon.

Temperatures in the area hovered around the triple digits today, and the area’s been getting hit with wind gusts around 15 mph, with extremely low humidity of around 10%.

Fire officials quickly responded to the fire with multiple aircraft and reported that some L.A. County firefighters from the Bobcat Fire were redirected.

L.A. County Fire Captain Ron Harrelson said with today's Red Flag Warning, crews were in place right away:

"Units are over there, on the ground, and in the air. We've got our water-dropping helicopters, as well as fixed-wing Super Scoopers, and the ability to drop Phos-CHEK [fire retardant]."

Harrelson said the fire was burning in an area with extremely dry and heavy brush, with some vegetation over six-feet high.

We will have more on this developing story.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 300
  • Containment: 0%
  • Injuries: none
  • Structures destroyed: none
  • Structures threatened: 12
  • Resources deployed:12 aircraft including 5 air tankers, 2 Super Scoopers, and 3 helicopters.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory: From Bouquet Reservoir Dam, south to Mile Marker 11.5.

Warning: Mile Marker 11.5 to Texas Canyon Ranger Station

ROAD CLOSURES

  • Bouquet Canyon Rd. from Vasquez Canyon north to the reservoir.

AIR QUALITY

  • South Coast AQMD reports unhealthy conditions in the San Gabriel Mountains and unhealthy conditions for senstive groups in the Santa Clarita Valley.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

  • 101 degrees
  • Relative humidity 8%
  • Winds easterly, gusting 10-20 mph.

THE BACKGROUND

The fire broke out shortly before 3 p.m. and rapidly spread to more than 200 acreas. Officials report the origin of the fire as 34577 Bouquet Cyn Rd., northeast of Santa Clarita.

SCENES ON THE GROUND

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Science reporter Jacob Margolis and producer Lita Martinez are reporting on this story, which is developing. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, initial reports turn out to be wrong or we make a mistake (hey, we’re human!). In all cases, however, we strive for accuracy and will update this story as new details become available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

No COVID-19 Post-Labor Day Spike In LA

Updated
Published
People gather on the beach on the second day of the Labor Day weekend amid a heatwave in Santa Monica on September 6, 2020. (Apu Gomes / AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County did not see a surge in COVID-19 cases associated with the Labor Day holiday weekend, county health officials said Monday.

"Everybody predicted that we would, in fact, see a surge after the Labor Day holiday, and we didn't,” said county health director Barbara Ferrer.

She credits residents who took precautions such as avoiding large groups and wearing face coverings.

“That's in part because people took actions to make sure we didn't see that surge,” Ferrer said.

The county has previously seen spikes after holidays. Crowded beaches and backyard barbeques during Memorial Day and the Fourth of July holidays led to thousands of new infections and deaths in the following weeks. Ferrer cautioned that an increase linked to Labor Day is still possible, but at this point is unlikely to lead to a spike.

In more good news, COVID case numbers are down for every age group in the county. However, people under the age of 49 who are more likely to work outside the home or run errands continue to make up the majority of newly reported cases.

Fewer people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, but Ferrer stressed the majority of them are not elderly.

“When you do the math, almost 70% of people recently hospitalized are under the age of 65,” she said.

Ferrer cautioned that age alone doesn’t protect people from risk — young adults have high rates of underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to severe COVID infections.

“Over half the people with asthma, and over half the people who are obese are between the ages of 18 and 49. And one quarter of the people with diabetes are in these younger age groups,” she said.

The majority of COVID deaths have been among older people, but recently there’s been an uptick in deaths and hospitalizations among young adults in their 20s.

OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose any California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Sunday, Sept. 27:


LAist’s How To (New) L.A. is a collection of step-by-step guides and practical information for navigating your life in Los Angeles:

SAFETY Is It Safe Out There?
• GOING PLACES What's Open & All The Rules
• WORK Getting Your Unemployment Money
• QUARANTINE/ISOLATION What To Do If You’re Sick — Or Might Be
• MASKS Confronting The Maskless (c/o An FBI Hostage Negotiator)
• MENTAL HEALTH Finding Mental Health Support

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

LA Comic Con Plans In-Person December Convention, Promises COVID-19 Safety

Updated
Published
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson takes a selfie with the crowd at L.A. Comic Con at the L.A. Convention Center on Oct. 28, 2017. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

While the famed San Diego Comic-Con International held its event virtually this year, L.A. Comic Con announced that it will be holding its event live and in person this December.

"After planning over the last six months, working with the L.A. Convention Center and taking guidance from the State, L.A. County Health and the Mayor’s Office — we believe our new plans and procedures allow us to do so safely, with full CV-19 safety precautions in place," convention organizers said in a statement.

Currently, convention centers are still listed as "closed" for all four tiers in the state's reopening guidelines. It was unclear if L.A. Comic Con had received permissions from officials at this time to hold the convention, or if they were hoping for local restrictions to be eased by December. A request for comment was not immediately returned. Organizers also posted a statement from the event's general manager on why they are choosing to hold an in-person event.

Convention organizers promised that if L.A. County Health or the L.A. Mayor's Office determine they can't hold the show safely, they will postpone the convention. They also stated that buying tickets will "demonstrate to the City and County that there are many fans who would like the opportunity to go to a CV-19 safe event in 2020 — who WILL wear masks and follow all the safety protocols."

Safety protocols announced by L.A. Comic Con include:

  • Requiring face masks
  • Reducing capacity from 42,000 last year to 13,500 attendees
  • Renting the whole convention center to allow for more space per person
  • Moving the main stage to a larger room
  • One-way traffic in South Hall aisles
  • More frequent cleaning
  • Hand-sanitizer stations
  • Streaming panels
  • Selling some digital-only tickets

The convention notes they have 800,000 square feet of event space available, as well as 400,000 square feet of "indoor & outdoor space to manage lines and waiting with appropriate social distancing options."

The convention was criticized in its early years (under its previous name of Comikaze Expo) after fans were left outside in the heat for hours in long lines, with fire marshals shutting the doors and not allowing more people inside.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, with L.A. Comic Con set for Friday, Dec. 11-Sunday, Dec. 13. The tickets have what the convention described as a "100% roll-over/refund guarantee."

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

First Heat Advisory Of This Fall Hits LA

Updated
Published
A woman carries water in downtown L.A. on a recent high temperature day. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

A heat advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. tomorrow until 8 p.m. Thursday for the Santa Clarita, San Fernando, and San Gabriel valleys, as well as downtown Los Angeles, coastal cities and inland Orange County.

Mark Wofford is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He told us:

"Downtown L.A. should be in the 90s, the valleys expecting 100 to 105. We've got some light to moderate Santa Ana winds up in the mountains today. We're not really expecting that tomorrow, it's just going to be hot and, you know, dry."

Wednesday is expected to be the hottest day. Cooling centers are open in L.A. through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

The heat advisory also extends to San Bernardino and Riverside counties, where highs are expected to reach between 104 and 106 in the Coachella Valley and metropolitan Riverside.

In addition to the heat, Red Flag Warnings also are in place thoughout much of the state. In the mountains of Ventura and L.A. counties, a warning is currently in place through 5 p.m. tonight. In the Inland Empire, the warning is in place through tomorrow.

READ MORE:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Video Shows LA Sheriff’s Deputy Repeatedly Striking Protester With Riot Shield

Updated
Published
Angel Navarrete is hugged by supporters after his release from jail Saturday. (Frank Stoltze/LAist)

Video posted to social media over the weekend shows an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy repeatedly striking a protester with the edge of his riot shield.

The protester, Angel Navarrete, 24, was arrested for failure to disperse Friday night after demonstrating in West Hollywood against a Louisville grand jury's decision not to hold any police officers criminally liable for the death of Breonna Taylor.

Navarrete told us what happened:

“I was tackled down like I was some sort of animal to them,” he said. “Apparently a riot shield was being used on my ... ankle, which was the most excruciating pain that I felt that night.”

Fighting back tears, Navarrete added: “I’m sure it’s all on video somewhere ... again, always film the police ... but I don’t remember much because it was all over my body.”

In a statement, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said “force was used” during the arrests and it is investigating.

The department said a total of six people were arrested for charges including “reckless driving, unsecured passengers in a truck bed, taking over the streets, battery on a peace officer, attempt to free a suspect from police custody, resisting/obstructing deputies, and failure to disperse.”

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

WATCH: Santa Ana Winds Pose Fire Danger; Gov. Newsom Gets Flu Shot, Gives Coronavirus Update

Updated
Published

Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's response to coronavirus, as well as recent wildfires. You can read highlights below and watch the full news conference above.

SANTA ANA WINDS COMING AS WILDFIRES BURN ACROSS THE STATE

In Northern California, these fires are of particular concern, Newsom said:

  • Glass Fire (Napa County): 0% contained, 11,000 acres burned; it has burned wineries and a number of other structures
  • Zogg Fire (Shasta County): 0% contained, 7,000 acres burned

The Zogg Fire may also move into the territory of the August Complex Fire, Newsom said. That fire is 45% contained, with 878,000 acres burned.

L.A. County's Bobcat Fire has gone from 15% contained, 105,000 acres burned last week, to 62% contained, 114,000 acres burned.

Despite that progress, Newsom noted that along with heat and dryness in the L.A. area, Santa Ana winds are coming and pose a significant fire danger.

Newsom again stressed the historic nature of this year's wildfire season, with 3.7 million acres burned in 8,136 fires so far this year. That compares with 157,000 acres burned last year in 5,487 fires.

More than 18,000 firefighters are currently dealing with 27 major fires/complexes across the state. There have been 26 deaths and more than 7,100 structures destroyed.

LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: SPREAD TRENDING UPWARD AGAIN, NEWSOM GETS FLU SHOT LIVE

The 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases is 3,367; there were 2,955 yesterday. The total number of tests is increasing as the West Coast heat wave of several weeks ago subsides (despite L.A. County's own incoming heat wave), as well as fires and poor air quality making less of an impact on testing centers.

The 7-day average of daily tests is 116,010; the 14-day average positivity rate is at 2.8%, down from 3.6% two weeks ago. It's continuing to trend downward, Newsom said, though he noted that the 7-day average is slightly higher right now: 2.9%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down 20% over the last two weeks, with ICU admissions down 21%.

There are 38 counties currently in the purple tier, 9 in red, 9 in orange, and 2 in yellow. Newsom said that the state anticipates a number of counties moving into new tiers during its weekly adjustment on Tuesday.

While there has been what Newsom said was a threefold decrease since California's peak, there are early signs that those decreases may have slowed, Newsom said. Some regions of the state are also trending upward in terms of spread.

The R effective rate has been increasing in various parts of the state, including Southern California. That's happening in areas including the Bay Area and lower Southern California, which includes Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and San Diego counties.

In Upper Southern California, the R effective rate is currently north of 1, which means COVID-19 is spreading. That grouping includes Los Angeles County, as well as part of the Central Coast and the Central Valley, with Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties also included.

As of this morning, 26 states have seen an increase in cases, Newsom said. He also noted that flu season is around the corner, stressing the importance of getting a flu shot due to the risk of flu and COVID-19 affecting California at the same time and draining health care resources.

Gov. Newsom gets his flu shot during a news conference on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (Courtesy Gov. Newsom's office)

To encourage people to get the flu shot, he received his own vaccination live as part of the news conference. He also noted that the Southern Hemisphere saw an unusually mild flu season due to the precautions people have been using to protect from COVID-19.

$137 MILLION AWARDED TO FIGHT HOMELESSNESS

Newsom also addressed the continued investment in Project Homekey, with $450 million awarded so far with the state securing 3,300 units. The third round of awards have been given out, which includes $137 million for 938 units in 15 jurisdictions. It includes 19 projects.

This week, Los Angeles saw five such projects that account for 269 units. There were also 100 units secured in Long Beach, with an office conversion to permanent housing with wraparound services in Santa Barbara.

COVID-19-related funding has also been found, Newsom said, with $200 million in additional Homekey funding to clear the waitlist and fund more than 20 more projects. The state is waiting for the Legislature to sign off on the funding.

CENSUS

Newsom encouraged Californians to fill out their census before it's too late, with a potential of $10,000 lost to the state for each person not counted. He said that it includes nine easy questions, and added that filling out the census is safe and confidential.

NEW CONSERVATIVE JUSTICE ON THE SUPREME COURT

Newsom responded to a question about the potential of a new conservative justice on the Supreme Court by expressing his worry about a wide range of issues, from social justice to the environment, as well as Roe v. Wade and aborition.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.