Today, we’re starting with a dispatch from my colleague Thomas Fuller, who is based in the Bay Area:
Five months ago, we brought you the story of the rancher in Mendocino County who inadvertently started the largest wildfire in California history when he hammered a stake into a wasp’s nest.
I was surprised to learn last week that his home nearly burned — again — in the latest round of wind-driven fires in Northern California. Flames from the Burris fire, which was extinguished Nov. 3, scorched the sloping fields around the rancher’s wood-shingled home, coming very close to engulfing the wraparound porch.
“It took great effort on firefighters’ part to defend that structure this time,” said Tricia Austin, a fire prevention specialist with Cal Fire in Mendocino County. “Without the engine providing protection it very well could have been lost.”
Parts of California burn every year. And sometimes the very next year they burn again.
The Burris fire, which neighbors say ignited at or near a facility that makes compost, burned 703 acres and destroyed some sheds and minor structures but no homes.
Wildfire experts say fires frequently return to areas that have burned recently, underlining how no part of the state can let down its guard. The Kincade fire in Sonoma County, which forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate in October and was extinguished last week, burned through areas ravaged by the 2017 Tubbs fire and the 2015 Valley fire.
Ron Milliken lives across Highway 20 from the rancher, Glenn Kile, who started what became the Mendocino Complex fire in 2018, by far the largest the state’s history.
Mr. Milliken evacuated last year. And he evacuated again this year when the Burris fire ignited on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 27.
It was 4 a.m. when he and his wife smelled smoke, but at least there was enough time to make a pot of coffee before they had to flee.
Here’s what you may have missed over the weekend
Senator Bernie Sanders may be a 78-year-old white lawmaker from Vermont, the state with the lowest Latino population in the country, but for many voters, he’s “Tío Bernie,” the candidate who best embodies their hopes. And Mr. Sanders’s campaign is banking on their support. [The New York Times]
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is set to consider whether the Trump administration can end protections for Dreamers, many of whom have grown up to achieve some version of the American ideal. Here’s the story of one such couple, told in intimate snapshots from their life. [The New York Times]
The progressive lawyer Chesa Boudin won San Francisco’s tightly contested race for district attorney. [The Associated Press]
News organizations around the state released a six-month investigation of more than 80 police officers who are still working even after being convicted of a variety of crimes, including animal cruelty and manslaughter. [The Mercury News]
For years, women have spoken up about inappropriate adjustments by powerful figures in yoga, and often their concerns were dismissed. Conversations about consent and unwanted touching are finally starting. [The New York Times]
A year after the Woolsey fire destroyed hundreds of homes in Malibu, a day laborer who once worked regularly in the city is struggling to find jobs. [LAist]
Also, if you missed it, the columnist Frank Shyong looked at why domestic workers and other vulnerable Angelenos aren’t warned about dangerous fires — and why they’re not protected from the fallout. [The Los Angeles Times]
“Music is really visceral.” Groups like The ClimateMusic Project, based in San Francisco, are trying to move people to action by creating music from climate data. [The New York Times]
Do celebrity endorsements make a difference? It depends on the celebrity. Here’s an interactive to see which celebrities have contributed to presidential candidates’ campaigns. (Is Noah Centineo a member of the “Yang Gang?”) [The Los Angeles Times]
The San Francisco Giants are changing Oracle Park a little bit. Here’s what’s under construction. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
And Finally …
Born to enslaved parents in 1864 in Kentucky, Col. Charles Young graduated from West Point, fought in the Philippine-American War and taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio, according to a National Park Service biography. He earned accolades and honors, even as he endured racism and discrimination.
So when he arrived in California in 1903 to become the superintendent of Sequoia National Park, it wasn’t the first time he was entering uncharted territory as an African-American man. Although he served as acting superintendent for one summer, the Park Service says, the roads he and his troops built are still in use.
His story, as the current park ranger Shelton Johnson and the historian Brian Shellum told KVPR, is a reminder of the ways in which members of the armed forces helped protect public lands before the Park Service was formally established.
And Mr. Johnson said he hoped that shedding light on Colonel Young’s story would inspire members of minority communities that have been historically excluded from the parks — both explicitly and structurally — to visit.
“It is a revolutionary perception,” Mr. Johnson told KVPR. “To have that thought that people who look like me were running a national park or working in a national park before the creation of the National Park Service itself.”
The post Flames Return to Where California’s Largest Wildfire Started appeared first on New York Times.