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California's firefighter

Firefighter dies in California’s El Dorado wildfire sparked by gender-reveal party – Fox News

A firefighter has died while battling the El Dorado fire that was started by a gender-reveal party in Southern California, officials said Friday.

“The name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement relased via Twitter on Friday.

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Officials said the incident took place Thursday. The cause of the firefighter’s death is under investigation. The Forest Service did not confirm whether or not the death occurred at the scene of the fire.

The firefighter’s death in the El Dorado fire is the latest tragedy caused by blazes that are continuing to ravage the western United States.

The blaze has consumed the San Bernardino National Forest since Sept. 7, destroying more than 19,000 acres. The fire is about 66% contained, the LA Times reported.

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Officials have alleged that a “gender-reveal” party started the fire when the family attempted to use a “smoke-generating device” to reveal a baby’s sex, which then ignited nearby grass and quickly spread, The New York Times reported.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department could not say whether the family who allegedly started the fire would be charged for the death, but Capt. Bennet Milloy of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that criminal charges were being considered. He added that any charges would wait until after the fire has been extinguished.

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“I can’t speak on their behalf,” Milloy said of the family, “but personally, I can only imagine how terrible they have to feel for a lot of reasons.”

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California's Newsom

California’s Newsom deploys new coronavirus reopening framework, most counties under strict orders – CNBC

Gavin Newsom, governor of California.

Rich Pedroncelli | AP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday a new framework for individual counties to reopen, outlining the possibility of non-essential indoor businesses and schools to return depending on the coronavirus’ spread in the area. 

The state will adopt a four-tiered approach to reopening where counties can move between the different levels depending on a county’s positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive, and their case rate. Each tier — minimal, moderate, substantial and widespread — allows for more or less non-essential indoor businesses to reopen with modifications. 

The governor said 38 counties, or roughly 87% of the state’s population, will begin on the “widespread” tier, which orders most non-essential indoor business operations to remain closed. Counties on the widespread tier have a positivity rate above 8% and more than seven daily new cases per 100,000 people. 

The new framework moves away from what California previously called its “monitoring list,” which was a list of counties with stricter rules on its businesses depending on a number of factors, including Covid-19 hospitalizations.

Newsom said the new framework is “much more simple” as the state tries to rebound from a surge of cases over the summer after it tried reopening in May. The Golden State governor ordered all bars and all dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, museums and other indoor businesses across the state to close on July 13 as cases climbed. 

According to the new framework, a county has wait 21 days before it’s allowed to move between tiers. Counties are only allowed to move one tier at a time and have to meet the qualifications for the next tier for two straight weeks. 

“We’re going to be more stubborn this time and have a mandatory wait time between moves. We didn’t do that last time, and that’s a significant distinction between what we’ve learned from the past and what we’re now advancing in this more stringent — but we believe more steady — approach,” Newsom said. 

The new framework also will institute an “emergency brake” if hospitalizations grow and threaten the state’s capacity to treat patients, Newsom said. 

Schools will only be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction if a county is able to move out of the widespread tier, though they would still be required to wait two weeks before discussing whether to return students, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. 

California’s hospitals have reported a decline in Covid-19 patients after reaching a peak of more than 7,100 people in late July, according to data presented by Newsom at a press briefing. According to the data, there were just over 4,200 people hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Thursday. 

As of Friday, California has reported an average of 5,650 daily new infections based on a seven-day average, a decline of more than 27% compared with the week prior, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

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California's First

California’s first plague case in 5 years is confirmed in South Lake Tahoe – Los Angeles Times

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.  — 

Health officials have confirmed a case of plague at South Lake Tahoe — the first in California in five years.

El Dorado County officials said Monday that the California Department of Public Health had notified them of the positive test of a resident who is under medical care while recovering at home.

Plague bacteria are most often transmitted by fleas that have acquired it from infected squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents. Dogs and cats may also carry plague-infected fleas.

Health officials believe the South Lake Tahoe resident may have been bitten by an infected flea while walking a dog along the Truckee River corridor or in the Tahoe Keys area on Tahoe’s south shore.

The last reported human cases of plague in California were in 2015 when two people were exposed to infected rodents or their fleas in Yosemite National Park. Both were treated and recovered.

No human cases have been reported since, but authorities did find evidence that a total of 20 ground squirrels or chipmunks around South Lake Tahoe had been exposed to the plague bacterium from 2016 to 2019. Those rodents were identified near the Tallac Historic Site, Fallen Leaf Campground or Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

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