Wildfire-weary Californians, 'tired of this being normal,' consider uprooting their lives

“It’s not necessarily this year of wildfires so much as the dam breaking on the realization that this is not just the new normal but just a prelude to what’s coming,” the 39-year-old Oakland resident says. “And just being sort of tired of this being normal.”

The website editor and video game consultant has lived in Northern and Southern California his entire life. As a teenager in the San Diego area, he was familiar with the stench of smoke and flakes of ash that rained down after wildfires.

Lately, however, weeks of unhealthy air quality readings and thick shrouds of smoke that some days make it impossible to see the lagoon three blocks from his Lake Merritt home are becoming unbearable. And he’s not alone.

“I have one friend that recently moved to Idaho to take care of family and isn’t coming back,” Gies said. “And he and his wife and child had been living in San Francisco for more than a decade… I have other friends that work at dot-coms or tech companies in the Bay Area and have lived here for anywhere from seven to ten years and are talking about leaving very seriously.”

Gies himself is seriously considering a cross country move to Brooklyn or Manhattan to escape the anxiety of life in California.

And late Friday, another perennial threat, a 4.5-magnitude earthquake, struck Southern California. No damage or injuries were reported but it jarred the sense of security of some already-rattled Californians.

Climate driven disasters becoming ‘actual moving force’ for relocation

Scientists have long acknowledged that the fingerprints of global warming are all over the wildfires and so many other disasters. And far worse disasters could be on the horizon. The more humans heat up the planet, the greater the odds of hot, dry conditions conducive to fires. The planet has warmed by a global average of roughly 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s, with human activity responsible for the bulk of that increase.
This past August was the warmest on record in California, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Each of the past six years were at least 1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the historical average.
According to the National Climate Assessment, a major “state-of-science” review of climate change and its projected impacts on the US, additional warming of about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit can be expected over the next few decades regardless of future emissions.

“It’s very important to be thinking about the fact that people will start making decisions about moving because of climate driven pressures,” said University of Southern California professor Bistra Dilkina, who has modeled migration patterns from sea-level rise.

Opinion: This is the climate election

“So far we’ve been kind of living very much in the world where movement, at least in the US, is really based on more about economic opportunities. But, as the intensity of climate driven disasters is increasing, I think it will become an actual moving force, even within the US, for people to change their decision making in terms of relocating the whole family.”

Scientists have projected that 13 million Americans could be be forced to relocate by 2100 from rising sea levels submerging coastlines. And that’s not taking into account the ongoing threat of wildfires, droughts and other disasters.

“When there’s a tipping point where people really understand that that’s something that they need to integrate in their decision making about moving, we’re going to see more movements that are based partially on that reasoning as well,” Dilkina said. “And so, from that perspective, I do believe that fires are going to start becoming one of the factors.”

Dilkina said she has only lived in the Los Angeles metro area for a couple of years. Her family purchased a home in Rancho Palos Verdes in the beginning of the summer.

“We have been basically locked up mostly at home for the last four days, which is very difficult to do with my with two kids — a three-year-old and eight-year-old — going crazy,” she said. “The air quality is really bad, and so that has basically made us just stay at home.”

Fire, smoke become ‘mind-numbingly common’

LeRoy Westerling, a University of California Merced expert on wildfires and the weather that drives them, has had his home in Mariposa County threatened twice by fires in recent years. The 2017 Detwiler Fire led to the evacuation of Westerling and his neighbors. The 2018 Ferguson Fire, which burned through 96,601 acres of the Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and state lands, also posed a risk to his community.
“Right now, we’re being impacted pretty severely by the Creek Fire but it’s not in danger of burning the town, it’s just the air pollution is so bad that you can’t stay there right now,” he said, referring to the ongoing fire that has so far consumed nearly 250,000 acres in Fresno and Madera counties.

Along with the threats to life and property, Westerling said, is the issue of insuring his two homes in Mariposa.

“We can’t get decent fire insurance anymore,” he said. “So if your house does burn down, you don’t have full coverage.”

Smoke from the US West Coast wildfires has reached Europe

He was able to find insurance to cover one home that was dropped by a company last year. The coverage of his other home was dropped this month, he said.

Now Westerling, whose family has lived in California for five generations, is contemplating a move.

“I’ve had this conversation myself at home lately,” he said of the possibility of relocating further north in the state, the Pacific Northwest or even Canada. “It’s like balancing different risk issues… It’s really just mind-numbingly common now that we get the smoke not just from the nearby fires but from all over the place.”

Gies, the website editor and video game consultant, said there was a time when Californians mainly worried about occasional temblors.

“The entire time that I can remember being aware of anything is the idea that earthquakes are a thing we’re waiting for — huge earthquakes on multiple faults,” said Gies, who has lived in Oakland for 13 years.

“And that’s something that hangs over California all the time. And now it’s not just that. It’s that anytime it’s warm and it hasn’t rained for a couple months, the prospect of just really life altering wildfires are becoming not just possible but expected,” he added.

“Climate disaster is something that will affect almost everywhere but the ways in which it’s affecting places like the Eastern seaboard that are not in the direct path of hurricane season feels more manageable to me than the fires and earthquakes here.”

Alesha Dixon style: Britain’s Got Talent judge wears Black Lives Matter necklace for show

Opting for her hair up, the judge had her sleek brown hair in a long ponytail which fell under her shoulders.

Alesha wore a lot of gold jewellery with two rings on each hand as well as multiple earrings in each ear.

She went for a soft glam makeup look with contour and a peach blush and she completed the look with a brown lip.

The singer posted a sneak peek of her look on her Instagram before the show.



Iran says US sanctions are ‘ruining’ MILLIONS of lives by ‘disregarding’ international law

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) is assessing the evidence from Iran and the US in order to decide whether it can deal with the case. On Wednesday, Tehran urged the UN court to overturn the US nuclear sanctions.

Donald Trump dragged America out of a landmark deal and reimposed nuclear sanctions.

The move resulted in Iran taking the US to the ICJ in 2018.

This week, Iran’s Hamidreza Oloumiyazdi told the UN court the sanctions imposed by the US were a “clear breach” of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two nations.

Speaking over video link, Mr Oloumiyazdi said: “The US measures and the underlying policy of ‘maximum pressure’ disregard the very foundation of international law.”

Iran’s lawyer added how the sanctions were causing “hardship and suffering”.

He said there has been a record level plummet in Iran’s trade, food prices have almost doubled and the health system has been severely affected.

He continued: “All that matters now for the US administration is whether its measures are succeeding in destroying the Iranian economy and ruining the lives of millions of Iranians.”

On Wednesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America will enforce new UN sanctions on Iran from next week.

READE MORE: Iran warning: Trump vows attack ‘1000 times greater’

The treaty predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which caused ties between the two nations to split.

America ended the treaty in 2018 following the UN’s orders to ease sanctions on humanitarian goods while the case is being assessed.

The US urged that its sanctions were important due to Iran’s “grave threat” to international security.

Mr Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal which includes the UK, China, France, Russia and Germany.

The agreement gave Iran relief on sanctions in exchange for reducing its nuclear programme.

But Iran increased its nuclear exercises last year due to the America’s reinforced sanctions.

The ICJ’s decision on jurisdiction could take many months and the final ruling may even take years.

On Wednesday, the US said it would impose the “full force” of America’s sanctions on any international arms manufacturers who work with Iran if the UN reimposes sanctions on Iran.

The UN Security Council has shown a lack of support to Washington’s aims to reinstate sanctions on Iran next week.

In August the council rejected the US attempt to extend an international arms sanction on Iran which is set to expire in October.



Iran says US sanctions are ‘ruining’ MILLIONS of lives by ‘disregarding’ international law

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) is assessing the evidence from Iran and the US in order to decide whether it can deal with the case. On Wednesday, Tehran urged the UN court to overturn the US nuclear sanctions.

Donald Trump dragged America out of a landmark deal and reimposed nuclear sanctions.

The move resulted in Iran taking the US to the ICJ in 2018.

This week, Iran’s Hamidreza Oloumiyazdi told the UN court the sanctions imposed by the US were a “clear breach” of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two nations.

Speaking over video link, Mr Oloumiyazdi said: “The US measures and the underlying policy of ‘maximum pressure’ disregard the very foundation of international law.”

Iran’s lawyer added how the sanctions were causing “hardship and suffering”.

He said there has been a record level plummet in Iran’s trade, food prices have almost doubled and the health system has been severely affected.

He continued: “All that matters now for the US administration is whether its measures are succeeding in destroying the Iranian economy and ruining the lives of millions of Iranians.”

On Wednesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America will enforce new UN sanctions on Iran from next week.

READE MORE: Iran warning: Trump vows attack ‘1000 times greater’

The treaty predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which caused ties between the two nations to split.

America ended the treaty in 2018 following the UN’s orders to ease sanctions on humanitarian goods while the case is being assessed.

The US urged that its sanctions were important due to Iran’s “grave threat” to international security.

Mr Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal which includes the UK, China, France, Russia and Germany.

The agreement gave Iran relief on sanctions in exchange for reducing its nuclear programme.

But Iran increased its nuclear exercises last year due to the America’s reinforced sanctions.

The ICJ’s decision on jurisdiction could take many months and the final ruling may even take years.

On Wednesday, the US said it would impose the “full force” of America’s sanctions on any international arms manufacturers who work with Iran if the UN reimposes sanctions on Iran.

The UN Security Council has shown a lack of support to Washington’s aims to reinstate sanctions on Iran next week.

In August the council rejected the US attempt to extend an international arms sanction on Iran which is set to expire in October.



A Connecticut teen saves the lives of a mom and three children by pulling them from a burning car

The Waterbury Police Department received multiple calls September 9, describing a woman trapped inside a burning vehicle, officials said in a Facebook post.

Justin Gavin, 18, was on a walk to a local Walgreens when he first realized there was a car on fire. Drivers honked their horns and got out their cars to notify the mother driving the burning vehicle that it was in flames, Gavin said.

“I’m yelling stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire!” Gavin told CNN.

But the mother couldn’t stop. That’s when, Gavin says he didn’t have time to think and fell into action. He chased down the burning car to help the family escape.

“I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out,” Gavin said. “I guess my instincts took over.”

When Gavin finally reached the vehicle it had come to a stop. He opened the car door and helped the mother out of the driver’s seat first, officials said. As the flames grew larger, he pulled the three children in the back seat to safety, including a 4, 9, and 1-year-old, who was in a car seat.

According to Gavin, the car was engulfed by flames moments later.

“It kind of got scary because I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to get everyone out in time. And luckily, I did,” Gavin said.

The mother credits the teen with saving her family’s life, officials said.

The police department honored Gavin as a hero. Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo awarded the teenager with a “challenge coin” to acknowledge his courageous act. Gavin smiled big as the chief shook his hand and offered him the token of appreciation.

“I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved,” said Spagnolo.

Gavin told CNN the experience was inspiring and changed his perspective of the police.

“It made me realize life is short,” Gavin said.

Meghan Markle ‘planning Black Lives Matter’ movie as part of mega Netflix deal

Last week the streaming giant announced a major new deal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The couple have agreed to produce films, documentaries and children’s shows for the company.

Whilst the exact figure hasn’t been released Meghan and Harry’s Netflix deal has been estimated to be worth $150million (£120million).

According to the Daily Mirror Meghan is keen to produce a film about Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter.

The prominent activist has reportedly “hugely inspired” the Duchess.

She launched Black Lives Matter back in 2013 along with Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza.

A source explained: “Meghan has been blown away by the incredible work Patrisse has done. She thinks her story needs to be told – and she would love to be the one to make it.”

Ms Cullors has previously said she would refuse to meet with President Trump who she has reportedly described as the “epitome of evil”.

The Black Lives Matter movement saw a surge in support following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, whilst he was being taken into custody by police in Minneapolis.

In response huge protests broke out across the United States, and even outside it, demanding social and racial justice.

READ MORE: Britons furious at Meghan Markle keeping royal title

He said: “Harry and Meghan have inspired millions of people all around the world with their authenticity, optimism and leadership.

“We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home – and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere.”

Back in January the Duke and Duchess caused a global sensation by announcing they planned to step down as senior members of the royal family.

Instead the couple pledged to become financially independent and said they would divide their time between North America and Britain.

After a brief stay in Canada they moved to California, Meghan’s home state, shortly before the coronavirus lockdown began.

Recently they purchased a new £11.2million property to the north of Los Angeles.

The luxury property comes complete with a swimming pool, tennis court and children’s cottage.

Reacting to the Netflix deal the Duke and Duchess said: “Our lives, both independent of each other and as a couple, have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit, of courage, resilience and the need for connection.

“Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.

“As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us, as is powerful storytelling through a truthful and relatable lens.”



Los Angeles shooting: Two police officers hit in ambush and ‘fighting for their lives’

The injuries to the Sheriff deputies were announced by the LA County Sheriffs Twitter account. It came at around 9pm in California, after a gunman was filmed walking up to a car and shooting the two deputies. The department said the two, one male and one female, are now in hospital for their injuries.

The account said on Twitter: “One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. 

“Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. 

“They are both currently undergoing surgery. The suspect is still at large.”

They also posted a video of the attack, and claimed the gunman “opened fire without warning or provocation”. 



Los Angeles shooting: Two police officers hit in ambush and ‘fighting for their lives’

The injuries to the Sheriff deputies were announced by the LA County Sheriffs Twitter account. It came at around 9pm in California, after a gunman was filmed walking up to a car and shooting the two deputies. The department said the two, one male and one female, are now in hospital for their injuries.

The account said on Twitter: “One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. 

“Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. 

“They are both currently undergoing surgery. The suspect is still at large.”

They also posted a video of the attack, and claimed the gunman “opened fire without warning or provocation”. 



Local communities honor lives lost on 9/11

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – People in our area are remembering the lives lost on 9/11. Eyewitness News was in Pennsauken, Camden County where dozens gathered late Thursday night to pay tribute.

Volunteers placed nearly 3,000 American flags around the township’s 9/11 memorial. One flag for each victim of the attacks.

“It is our way of saying thank you. It is our way of remembering the sacrifice. It is our way of connecting with all those throughout our country that were affected and the Pennsauken residents that were affected by 9/11,” Pennsauken Township Mayor Tim Killion said.

The flags will stay in place until just before midnight Friday.

Eighteen of the lives lost on 9/11 were from Bucks County.

Those planning to stop at the Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Township to pay their respects are asked to be mindful of social distancing and wear masks if they cannot stay six feet away from one another.

Friday night’s remembrance ceremony will be a drive-thru event. Motorists can hear pre-recorded messages from clergy and victims’ family on a designated radio station.

In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney was at a ceremony held at the Engine 8 firehouse on Arch Street. A bell was rung to remember the first responders and civilians who lost their lives.

“I’ve been thinking about 9/11 a lot, the way it changed us, our sense of security in the world, also been thinking about how our country came together to rebuild and not let it ache over our lives. We agree this year once again we come together as a country, in very uncertain times,” Kenney said.

The mayor praised the work of first responders and emergency personnel during the pandemic.

In Media, officials held a solemn remembrance in Rose Tree Park, laying wreaths at the Delaware County Law Enforcement Memorial. The private ceremony was streamed live. It honored those who lost their lives on 9/11, as well as first responders who have died in the line of duty.

In Moorestown, Burlington County a 9/11 prayer service was held Friday morning.  It was held outside on the grounds of the Moorestown Community House. Masks were worn and social distancing was practiced.