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Morning Briefing: 2020 Didn’t Forget About Wildfires

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Morongo Casino scrolls gambling messages across the building as the Apple Fire burns further into national forest territory in Cabazon on Aug. 2, 2020. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)
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It’s no secret that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years in many Americans’ recent memory. But it’s only halfway over and now it’s wildfire season — and of course, this unprecedented year of our Lord couldn’t pass without significant blazes in and around L.A.

In Riverside County, the Apple Fire has been burning since Friday, has consumed more than 26,000 acres and is at just 5% containment as of Monday evening. On Saturday, the Water Fire broke out 20 miles away, and is at 70% containment.

Lisa Cox, a fire information officer, told us that when she saw pyrocumulus clouds near the Apple Fire over the weekend, she knew it was bad. “My stomach just dropped," she said.

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Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, August 4

With the FX series Pose, writer/director Janet Mock became the first trans woman of color to write and direct a TV episode. The show features more transgender actors in regular roles than any other scripted series. In this week’s episode of the podcast, Hollywood, The Sequel, host John Horn talks with Mock about why that kind of representation has real power to change attitudes and behavior toward trans people.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: The COVID-19 positivity rate in California, the number of hospitalizations and the number of ICU admissions are all showing modest declines. L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said she is “cautiously optimistic” that the county is taking positive steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 — but noted we "still have a ways to go."

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From Brutality To Art And Healing: South L.A. organizer Dime Jones formed a nonprofit after the success of her recent cleanup event, which coincided with the protests against systemic racism and police brutality. The new graphic novel, Lizard In A Zoot Suit, takes a metaphorical look at the 1940s Zoot Suit Riots, when members of the military beat up young Mexican Americans in a series of race-driven attacks.

City Hall Scandal: Suspended L.A. City Councilman José Huizar has entered a plea of “not guilty” in a wide-ranging federal corruption case targeting City Hall.

The Apple Fire: The blaze in Riverside County has so far burned more than 26,000 acres and was 5% contained as of Monday evening.

Back To School: LAUSD and its teachers' union have reached a tentative agreement on what distance learning will look like when the fall semester begins on Aug. 18.

Here’s What To Do: With COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, more Angelenos are exploring the city’s great hikes. Go forest bathing, listen to two BFFs talk about friendship, grab the kids for an online cooking class with chef Jet Tila — all that and more in this week’s best online and IRL events. Or, listen to the most recent episode of the LAist Studios podcast, California City, in which host Emily Guerin tells the story of Ken Donney, a young, cocky lawyer who considered himself the "Ralph Nader of the West" – but had a horrific secret.

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Final Goodbyes: Hee Sook Lee, founder of the BCD Tofu House chain, has died.


Photo Of The Day

Firefighters arrive at the scene of the Water Fire. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images)

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(Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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