A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California that grew to more than 2,000 acres in a matter of hours is forcing people from their homes.
Orange County, California, was under a red flag warning when the Bond Fire broke out late Wednesday night. Shortly after the fire started, homes in Williams County were evacuated, and hundreds of people are now under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders.
The fire began as a structure fire in Silverado Canyon but extended into nearby vegetation. A red flag warning indicates that weather conditions are ripe for fires spreading, and dry vegetation acts as fuel for the flames. With the wind driving the Bond Fire, the Orange County Fire Authority warned area residents early Thursday morning that they should be prepared to leave quickly.
Just three hours after it started, the fire “exploded” to 1,500 acres, and more than 240 firefighters were working to save property and lives.
Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon, Modjeska Canyon, Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills west of El Toro and north of 241 Toll Road were under a mandatory evacuation order. The rest of Portola Hills, Borrego Canyon, Baker Ranch, Live Oak Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, Rose Canyon, Valley Vista Way, Meadow Ridge Drive, Lake Forest from the 241 Toll Road along Bake Parkway to Musick north to the Irvine Border—and from 241 Toll Road North to Bake to Foothill Ranch Community Park—were under a voluntary evacuation warning.
“Please prepare now to leave,” the Orange County Fire Authority said.
Compounding the problem for people in the fire’s path is the coronavirus crisis. Normally, communities open up shelters and temporary lodging for people who are displaced because of a wildfire, but Orange County wasn’t offering congregate shelters because of the pandemic. Instead, the Orange County Fire Authority “strongly encouraged” residents leaving their homes to “seek safety with family/friends or in a hotel.”
A Red Cross evacuation point was set up at 8405 East Chapman Avenue, and restrooms were available, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
Along with those who were forced from their homes, tens of thousands of Southern California homes were without power on Thursday morning. Southern California Edison cut power to nearly 35,000 customers to reduce the risk of the fire spreading, and San Diego Gas & Electric cut power to another 24,000 customers.
The wildfire was zero percent contained on Thursday morning. The National Weather Service warned that Santa Ana winds could exacerbate fires into the weekend.
Cleaning The White House After The Exit From Donald Trump, Costs At Least $ 127,000
With 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors and 28 fireplaces the White House is not an easy building to deep-clean. But that’s exactly what happened this week.
As President Joe Biden’s administration replaced that of Donald Trump, sponges and dusters were out in force to scrub and disinfect 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The colossal operation began after Trump’s staff packed up and before the arrival of Joe and Jill Biden. It cost at least $127,000, according to government contract data seen by Power Of The American.
Didlake, a Virginia cleaning company that employs people with disabilities, was awarded a $127,000 contract for “2021 Inaugural Cleaning” in a deal authorized by the General Services Administration.
According to CNN, the total cost of the deep clean could have hit $500,000. The news outlet cites separate contracts, including another to Didlake for “disinfectant misting services due to COVID at the White House.” That deal is worth about $29,000.
Other contracts, not specifically listed as connected to the Bidens’ arrival, included $44,000 on carpet cleaning, $115,000 on replacement flooring and $30,000 on curtain cleaning, CNN reported.
The White House has been contacted for comment.
The thorough cleanup came after Trump and several of his inner circle tested positive for coronavirus. The former president often played down the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and he and many of his officials were frequently pictured without face masks.
Joe Biden has taken a different approach, with some of his first acts as president set to include a nationwide mask and distancing mandate and a reorganization of the federal response to the pandemic.
Former White House chief usher Gary Walters was responsible for the building and grounds for 21 years, overseeing the changeover from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush, Bush to Bill Clinton and Clinton to George W. Bush.
In an interview with documentary filmmaker Tim Samuels for London’s Evening Standard newspaper, Walters spoke of the difficulty of such an operation.
“You’re planning for somebody who might be moving out, but you don’t want to talk to them about moving out. Nor their staff. They don’t want to entertain the idea,” he said.
Removal boxes were pictured being taken from the West Wing last week, before Trump flew to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
‘You can’t do anything until the family that’s there has gone. Families are not left with a partially bare room. It’s still their house, still their home. If they have to go up and use the restroom at the last minute, they can do that,’ Walters added.
The White House Historical Association has been contacted for context on the scale of the Trump-Biden cleanup.
Man Shot In His Stomach After Jumping Out Of Forests To Scare A Friend, The Police Say
A Florida man was shot and injured after he jumped out on his friend in an attempt to scare him during a fishing trip.
The 31-year-old victim from Miami, named by local media as Adam Antony Navarro, hid in the woods while his friend went to their car early on Sunday morning during an outing to the Florida Keys.
Navarro leapt out from behind trees to scare his friend, who, apparently startled, drew a 9mm handgun and shot the victim once in the stomach, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting, close to the Channel 5 Bridge in the Florida Keys, happened at around 5.30 a.m and the victim was airlifted to a Miami hospital later on Sunday evening.
Police said their investigation was ongoing and charges may be filed against the shooter, who authorities did not name.
In a statement released on the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the department said: “A 31-year-old Miami man was shot in the stomach at the Channel 5 Bridge and airlifted to a Miami hospital Sunday evening.
“Detectives are still investigating the incident, but early reports indicate the shooter and the victim and friends—both are from Miami—and had been fishing together on the bridge.
“Sometime at approximately 5:30 a.m., the victim decided to change his clothes slightly and jump from the woods in an effort to scare his friend who was walking back to a vehicle.
“The friend drew a 9mm handgun and shot the victim once in the stomach.
“Trauma Star landed on the bridge and flew the victim to Jackson South Medical Center.
“Whether or not charges will be filed remains part of the ongoing investigation.”
In a strikingly similar case in Colorado in 2013, 18-year-old Premila Lal was killed by a friend after reports said she hid in a closet and jumped out on Nerrek Daniel Galley, 21, who then shot her.
Lal allegedly hid in a cupboard with her 12-year-old cousin and made noises to scare Galley and Premila’s 15-year-old brother, who was with him at the time.
The high-school graduate, from Longmont, was taken to hospital but died shortly afterwards.
Her father, Praveen Lal, said she was “a ray of sunshine everywhere she went.” He added: “My life ended so suddenly and I think it’s going to take a few more days for us to really comprehend she’s gone.”
16 Million Americans Are Receiving Unemployment Assistance, Since Joe Biden Takes Office
President Joe Biden faces a set of massive economic crises as millions of Americans remain unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 900,000 workers filed for initial jobless claims last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday. First-time unemployment claims have surmounted 750,000 per week since last summer and jumped to 926,000 for the week ending January 9.
The data released by the Labor Department also showed that 15,994,519 people were still claiming some form of unemployment benefits through all government programs as of the week ending January 2—a significant increase from the 2.2 million claims filed in the same week last year.
Biden, who was sworn into office on Wednesday, has vowed to prioritize the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn in the early days of his administration. In his inaugural address, Biden said that “we can reward work, rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all.”
The president has laid out a $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan to tackle the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and the deteriorating economy. The package includes an expansion of the child tax credit, a $1,400 stimulus payment, $350 billion in state and local government aid and increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The wide-ranging legislation would also extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September.
To help curb the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country, the relief plan would set aside $50 billion for virus testing and $20 billion for a national vaccine program in partnership with state and local governments.
“During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck,” Biden said in a speech to the nation on January 14. “There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”
Before the pandemic broke out, the national unemployment rate in February 2020 was at a low of 3.5 percent. In December 2020, that rate was 6.7 percent.
Congress temporarily extended unemployment benefits, approved $600 stimulus checks and pushed eviction protection until January 31 as part of the $900 billion relief bill passed in December.
Republicans are already voicing concern about passing another stimulus package so soon. Senator John Thune of South Dakota said he was worried about the “massive amount of debt we are racking up,” and Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa criticized the Biden plan as a “laundry list of liberal structural economic reforms.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber’s committees will be working on Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal next week.
“We’re getting ready for a COVID package,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “As we work on these issues, we won’t be back in session until the beginning of February, but we’re doing our committee work.
Power Of The American reached out to the White House for comment on the latest unemployment data but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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