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State refuses request for more water in communities with high wildfire risk

By Alex Wigglesworth Photo: Kent Nishimura, Los Angeles Times

State officials have denied a request by Southern California municipal water districts for more water to mitigate wildfire risk.
The agencies had worked with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to ask the California Department of Water Resources to allocate 26,300 more acre-feet of water under the health-and-safety exception to drought rules, using the rationale that the exception should include supplies to reduce wildfire hazards by irrigating vegetation in high-risk areas.


Saltwater toilets, desperate wildlife: Water-starved Catalina Island battles against drought

By Hayley Smith Photo: Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times

For Snell and Santa Catalina Island’s other 4,000 full-time residents, water is a bit of an obsession. When you live an hourlong ferry ride from Long Beach, a gallon of the stuff can cost six times more than it does “over town” — the islanders’ term for the mainland.


McKinney fire levels homes, destroying a lifetime of memories in a flash

By Hayley Smith and Others Photo: David McNew, Getty Images

Days after the McKinney fire broke out in Northern California, anxious residents peppered officials with questions during a community meeting in Yreka on Monday night.
“When can we go back home?” one person asked.
“Can you show me my house on that map?” asked another.
One stood out from the rest: “What are we supposed to do if we lost


Federal government suspends new drilling and fracking leases on public lands in Central California

By Tony Briscoe Photo: Brian Van Der Brug, Los Angeles Times

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta announced Monday that the state has reached a settlement with the federal government to halt new oil and gas leases on public lands in Central California until the potential risks to public health and the environment are adequately assessed.


‘The clock is ticking’: PG&E exploring possibility of keeping Diablo Canyo open to boost reliability: CEO

By Kavya Balaraman Photo: Tracey Adams

Pacific Gas & Electric is exploring the possibility of keeping the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open beyond its currently scheduled retirement in 2024 and 2025 to support the reliability of California’s electricity system, PG&E Corp. CEO Patti Poppe told analysts during the company’s earnings call Thursday.


These maps show severe fires are morphing California forests into something we won’t recognize

By Yoohyun Jung Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

Many of the largest wildfires in recent U.S. history have happened in California just in the past few years, including last year’s Dixie Fire, which burned nearly a million acres across four counties. Seven others in 2021 achieved “megafire” status, surpassing the mark of 100,000 acres burned. No megafires have occured in 2022 yet, but the ongoing Oak Fire, which started on July 22, has already burned more than 15,000 acres and continues to grow.


A Painful Deadline Nears as Colorado River Reservoirs Run Critically Low

By Henry Fountain Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

States in the Colorado River basin are scrambling to propose steep cuts in the water they’ll use from the river next year, in response to a call by the federal government for immediate, drastic efforts to keep the river’s main storage reservoirs from reaching critically low levels.


Calif.’s last nuclear plant faces closure. Can it survive?

By Anne C. Mulkern Photo: Tracey Adams , Flickr

California political leaders are debating whether to keep the state’s final nuclear power plant open beyond 2025, a decision with repercussions for the state’s emissions, electricity mix and ability to prevent blackouts amid high demand in the years ahead.
But saving the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — near the Pacific Ocean in San Luis Obispo County — would require clearing numerous hurdles within just a few years.


The world’s longest-lived trees couldn’t survive climate change

By Sarah Kaplan Photo: Sundry Photography/iStockphoto/Getty Images

The trees had stood for more than 1,000 years. Their sturdy roots clung to the crumbling mountainside. Their gnarled limbs reached toward the desert sky. The rings of their trunks told the story of everything they’d witnessed — every attack they’d rebuffed, every crisis they’d endured. Weather patterns shifted; empires rose and fell; other species emerged, mated, migrated, died. But here, in one of the harshest environments on the planet, the bristlecone pines survived. It seemed they always would.


Angered by climate denial, a Times photographer embarked on a watershed journey

By Stuart Leavenworth Photo: Luis Sinco , Los Angeles Times

Fires were burning, glaciers were melting, and the West was again in drought. But from talking to his kids and friends and people around him, the award-winning Times photographer sensed little dire urgency, little connection between the climate crisis and the routines of everyday life.