California

The destructive wildfires in Southern California are capping one of the worst fire seasons on record in the state. They come less than two months after thousands of homes burned and more than 40 people were killed by fires in Northern California. Climatologists warn that this is the new reality for the region, where wildfires are occurring year-round.

Los Angeles residents Neil Fazzari and his wife, Kirsten, are stunned to see such a large wildfire this late in the year. "It was a shock this morning when our neighbors knocked on our door," Kirsten said.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

Driven by fierce Santa Ana winds, four intense fires near Los Angeles grew to engulf more than 115,000 acres Thursday, and officials say residents should continue to expect dangerous fire conditions, as both strong winds and very dry conditions persist.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

Multiple fires are burning in Southern California, claiming hundreds of structures and thousands of acres and closing many freeways and local roadways, according to state fire officials.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Fire crews were starting to gain the upper hand on numerous blazes in Northern California that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed thousands of homes, but officials warned that the deadliest wildfires in the state's history were far from extinguished.

The death toll rose Monday after "a private water tender driver assigned to the Nuns Fire tragically died in a vehicle rollover on Oakville Grande in Napa County," according to Cal Fire. The driver has not yet been publicly identified.

In her quarter-century in the U.S. Senate representing California, Dianne Feinstein has built a reputation as a bipartisan bridge builder, a collegial member of a legislative body that values seniority and, at least until recently, civility.

But in the Trump era, a reputation like that may be a weakness, especially in California, home of the anti-Trump resistance where Hillary Clinton drew more than 60 percent of the vote last November.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Some 9,000 firefighters who are working long hours with little or no rest continue to battle historically destructive Northern California wildfires that have claimed at least 40 lives, wiped out whole neighborhoods and damaged vineyards and farms in the heart of the state's wine country. In this week's fires alone, 22 people have died, the Sonoma County Coroner's office said Saturday.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to move California's primary elections in 2020 to the beginning of March, three months ahead of when they were held in 2016.

It's a move designed to increase the influence of the country's most populous state in deciding presidential candidates. By the June California primary elections in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already their parties' presumptive nominees.

By springtime of 2016, it looked like California might have a decisive role in choosing the presidential nominee for a major party for the first time in several generations.

With the June primary approaching last year, Hillary Clinton toured the state, while Bernie Sanders spent nearly an entire month holding rallies and giving speeches. Meanwhile Donald Trump and his Republican rivals were building organizations in the state.

It's an unusually bad wild fire season in the West, and for weeks people across the region have been breathing air thick with smoke.

"There's smoke from Canada, smoke from Idaho, smoke from California and Montana. There's smoke everywhere," says Greg Svelund, a spokesman for Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality.

There are no cardboard boxes or bubble wrap or heavy duty packing tape in Tim Stokes' 1,600-square-foot Sacramento, Calif., home. But, according to the 36-year-old, he and his pregnant wife, their three kids and their two 100-pound mastiffs are on the verge of selling the house they bought just over a year ago.

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