Spare the Air Alert extended through Friday amid Glass Fire smoke

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – “Oftentimes we can go outside, you can’t smell it. But people don’t realize it, the body actually gets used to the smell of smoke,” said Air district meteorologist Jarrett Claiborne.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended the Spare the Air Alert through Friday, due to wildfire smoke from the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties.

“Looking at the satellite view, one of the things we should note, one of the things that we were afraid of, the critical fire weather conditions exacerbating the other fires that had really good containment. That is one of the things we were afraid of, and it actually occurred,” Claiborne added.

Air District officials advise Bay Area residents to protect their health by staying indoors if possible, even if the air outside appears not to be harmful.

During Spare the Air alerts wood burning, burning manufactured fire logs, or other solid fuel are banned.

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Newsom: Fire management will be priority in budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – On Monday, Governor Newsom said fire management will be a big priority in his budget.

With two new serious fires scorching parts of Northern California, state leaders continue to call in reinforcements amid an already record fire season. 

“A lot of consternation in and around that region that has been hit over and over and over again,” Newsom said.  

As of Monday, more than 18,000 firefighters worked to control 27 major fires across the state.

Newsom said the federal government approved two more fire management assistance grants bringing the total so far this year to 15. 

The governor said state emergency management leaders requested help from six other states while 117 aircrafts are working to fight flames from the air. 

More than 3.7 million acres have burned in California so far this year.

The governor said his proposed budget for next year includes a record amount of money for fire prevention and fighting efforts.

“We’re not standing still, we’re not just victims of fate, we want to shape this future, we want to work on suppression, work on prevention and then work on adaptation and strategies that are longer term as it relates to decarbonizing our economy,” Newsom said.  

Newsom’s administration points to climate change as the fundamental cause of these fires. He says more announcements on tackling that issue are coming soon.

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Wildfire fuel moisture at record low: SJSU fire experts warn

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) – The landscape in parts of the Santa Cruz mountains and elsewhere across northern California is a tinder box. 

There’s tons of dead brush and grass, and even the live fuels look dead.  A pine bough that should feel a little spongy feels more like sandpaper. 

Live fuel moisture levels are at an all-time low in some areas, says San Jose State University Fire Weather Research professor Craig Clements.

“That has to do with the fact that we had this drought year. We had a low rain year, this past winter.”

San Jose’s State’s mobile weather lab is currently analyzing data collected from 2017’s devastating Tubbs Fire, which has striking similarities.

Wind, heat, topography, and what’s known as “spotting,” where embers are blown downwind starting spot fires in the dried out and easily ignitable brush and grass.  

It’s not just the North Bay.  Clements and his team have been measuring live fuel moisture in the Santa Cruz mountains and other fire-prone areas across the state.

Many areas are seeing fuel moisture levels that would not normally be seen until October.

“We’re in the core of our fire season. October’s usually the month where we have the lowest fuel moisture and the strongest wind,” Clements added.

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1 million lives lost: World marks painful COVID-19 milestone

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The world passed the previously unimaginable mark of 1 million coronavirus deaths on Monday, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 200,000 deaths, the U.S. has far more deaths than other nations with 1 in 5 of the world’s virus fatalities. Brazil ranks second with 141,000 deaths while India has recorded 95,000.

In the United States, New York still leads with about 33,000 coronavirus deaths followed by New Jersey, Texas, California, and Florida all in the ballpark of 14-16,000 deaths.

The good news: the average number of daily deaths has slowly been dropping over the last few months. The U.S. has seen two distinct peaks in daily deaths with a summertime surge cresting at about half the size of the first deadly wave in April.

The bad news: we’ve seen a slight increase in daily deaths over the last few days. According to the New York Times, U.S. deaths inched up about 2% in the previous 14 days.

Deaths first peaked on April 24 at an average of 2,240 each day as the disease romped through the dense cities of the Northeast. Then, over the summer, outbreaks in Texas, California, and Florida drove daily deaths to a second peak of 1,138 on August 1.

Some states — Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, and California — suffered more deaths during the summer wave than during their first milder run-in with the virus in the spring. Others — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Colorado — definitely saw two spikes in infections but suffered fewer deaths the second time around.

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When it comes to confirmed cases of the virus, the U.S. hit another milestone last week — 7 million — according to Johns Hopkins, though the real number of infections is likely much higher.

The spike across the Midwest and parts of the West has set off alarms at hospitals, schools, and colleges.

Wisconsin is averaging more than 2,000 new cases a day over the last week, compared with 675 three weeks earlier. Hospitalizations in the state are at their highest level since the outbreak took hold in the U.S. in March.

Utah has seen its average daily case count more than double from three weeks earlier. Oklahoma and Missouri are regularly recording 1,000 new cases a day, and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a staunch opponent of mask rules, recently tested positive. Kansas and Iowa are also witnessing a spike in cases. And South Dakota and Idaho are seeing sky-high rates of tests coming back positive.

“What we’re seeing is the newer hot spots rise over the course of the last several weeks, predominantly in the Upper Midwest,” said Thomas Tsai, a professor at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health.

The U.S. is averaging more than 40,000 new confirmed cases a day. While that number is dramatically lower than the peak of nearly 70,000 over the summer, the numbers are worrisome nonetheless. The nation’s death toll eclipsed 200,000 last week, the highest in the world.

“We’re at a really critical point right now,” said Alison Hill, an infectious disease researcher at Harvard University. “Schools are reopening. The weather is getting colder, driving people indoors. All those things don’t bode particularly well.”

What’s ahead may be worse because the virus is likely to have a seasonal swing similar to other respiratory illnesses.

Scientists do not yet know how much credit, if any, to give to treatment improvements for the decline in daily U.S. deaths. Doctors now use drugs such as remdesivir and tricks such as flipping patients from their backs to their stomachs.

But gains seen on hospital wards are hard to document with national data. Strangely, the death rate for patients admitted to the hospital has not improved, said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. It’s possible that sicker patients are now being admitted to hospitals compared with earlier in the year, while healthier patients are treated at home. That would make it hard to see an improvement in the rate of deaths once patients are admitted to the hospital.

Others insist better treatments must be making a difference.

“We have many more tools in September of 2020 than we did in March of 2020,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious diseases expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

And nursing homes are safer, Adalja said. Early in the epidemic, hospitals discharged patients with coronavirus into nursing homes full of vulnerable people.

“We’ve learned from those mistakes,” Adalja said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Protesters want their cellphones back from San Diego police, sheriff’s departments

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The American Civil Liberties Union is claiming San Diego police officers and sheriff’s deputies at the central jail in San Diego take cell phones from people but then fail to return them.

Some protesters arrested during demonstrations in August in San Diego have claimed their phones were confiscated and never returned when they were arrested and/or processed at the central jail, which is operated by the Sheriff’s Department.

The ACLU says the issue also extends to those who are held temporarily and released without any charges pending.

The ACLU sent a letter last week to the San Diego Police Department and the san Deigo County Sheriff Department. The San Diego County District Attorney and the San Diego City Attorney also received copies of the letter.

It claims the seizure of the phones and refusal to return them appears not to be “the result of isolated decisions by individual officers,” but rather part of a “written or de-facto policy.”

This is an allegation the Sheriff’s Department is denying.

“The Sheriff’s Department did not seize any phones from those arrested at a protest in downtown San Diego on August 28,” sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Ricardo Lopez wrote in a statement. “It is untrue the Sheriff’s Department is holding the phones of released inmates.”

Lopez also sent Border Report a copy of his department’s polices and procedures in connection to property belonging to inmates and people detained.

Lopez stated that his department asked the ACLU for “a list of names of those claiming to not have received their phones but have not received that information.”

A spokeswoman for the county District Attorney’s Office said the Sheriff’s Department was looking into the matter. But San Diego Police has yet to reply.

The ACLU maintains the action “violates protestors’ Fourth Amendment and due process rights, and it should be immediately repealed and repudiated.”

Visit the homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

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Google Maps rolls out COVID-19 tracking feature

(WIVB) – Google Maps is rolling out a new feature that allows users to see how prevalent cases of COVID-19 are in a given area.

When you open the app, if you click on the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you will get an option that says “COVID-19 info”.

The data will then show a seven-day average of new cases, along with a label indicating if cases are trending lower or higher.

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Fire evacuation center set up at Napa County church

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – A fire evacuation center has been set up at the Crosswalk Church in Napa County.

People have been lining up at the church to get hotel vouchers.

It’s estimated that nearly 12,000 people just in Napa County are either under a mandatory evacuation order or a warning, which means they need to be ready to leave.  

KRON4 spoke to some this morning who woke up to find flames visible from their front door.

“I was like woah, the fire is so close up, this is crazy,” Verena Perez said.

The 15-year-old St. Helena resident described the view out her front door of her apartment complex. Her and her family grabbed their things and fled at around 2 a.m. Monday morning.

“It was just kind of crazy trying to get everything in the car quick, I had a really bad anxiety attack so I was like a mom I don’t wanna be here no more,” Perez said.

Now, they are waiting with many others at the Crosswalk Community Church as county workers, coordinating with the Red Cross work to get them a hotel voucher.

“I feel kind of scared, you feel emotional because you know what’s not gonna happen, you don’t know what’s gonna happen next hour, you don’t know what’s going on,” Perez said.

Many people are showing up here bringing supplies for the evacuees, even those who had to leave themselves.

“We saw that everybody was waiting out here in the heat so we went to the nearest Safeway, got some water, got some protein bars, got some applesauce for kids, and just some gift cards as well They told us that would be a big help so people could go and buy whatever toiletries I need underwear socks things like that,” Ella Marciano said.

The county says several non-profits are handling donations and because of coronavirus, they really only want to accept cash or gift cards. They will accept donations at the church and at a few other locations as well as online.

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Fire in Novato impacting visibility along NB-101, slowing traffic

NOVATO, Calif. (KRON) – Crews are responding to a 5-acre grass fire burning in Novato Monday.

According to Marin County Fire, the fire is burning alongside NB-101 near the Atherton Avenue exit, near Gnoss Field.

Smoke is visible from the freeway and is affecting visibility and slowing down traffic; take alternate routes if possible.

Binford Road is closed at this time.

>> Track the latest traffic conditions in the KRON4 Traffic Center.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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How to watch the first presidential debate

CLEVELAND (NewsNation Now) — For the first time, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will go face-to-face in a presidential debate on Tuesday.

The debate will be split into six, 15 minute segments:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • Coronavirus
  • The Economy
  • Race and violence in U.S. cities
  • Integrity of the election

The commercial-free debate will be will be moderated by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace.

Watch the debate beginning at 9 p.m. (ET)/ 8 p.m. (CT). You can watch on WGN America, on or the free NewsNation Now app.

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Solar storms may bring northern lights show to parts of the U.S.

Stargazers, assemble!

Expected solar storms could cause vibrant colored light shows, also known as Auroras, for people living in northern portions of the United States this week.

The Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced G1 and G2 geometric storm watches through September 30th.

And if you happen to live in the right spot, you too can cross this incredible phenomenon off your bucket list.

What is an Aurora?

No… we’re not talking about your relative named Aurora! We’re talking about natural green light shows, also known as northern lights.

According to NASA, Auroras are caused by the sun, even though it’s easier to spot them at night. And during a solar storm, energy travels toward Earth resulting in neon green and red displays of light that are out of this world.

How to spot them?

The expected solar storm could trigger Auroras in parts of Michigan, the Dakotas, Minnesota, northern New England, and the Pacific Northwest, according to AccuWeather.

The closer you live to the north pole, the better. People in cities located at higher latitudes are more likely to see the phenomenon. Check out the NOAA website to find your city’s magnetic latitude.

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