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Sierra wildfire spurs evacuation of thousands of California homes

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Evacuation orders were expanded to thousands of homes in northern California’s Sierras on Friday as a rapidly spreading wildfire roared for a third day through drought-parched timber and brush, threatening mountain communities near Sacramento.

The so-called Butte Fire, which erupted on Wednesday about 30 miles southeast of the state capital near the former gold mining town Jackson, has grown quickly in the midst of a heat wave baking the region in triple-digit temperatures.

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By Friday, flames had devoured nearly 32,000 acres of rugged terrain, more than double the acreage left blackened the previous night, although a force of 1,500 firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around 10 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, fire officials said.

“This fire definitely has a dangerous rate of spread, and our goal right now is to protect structures,” said Mike Yeun, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Six homes and two outbuildings have been destroyed, and roughly 6,000 dwellings were listed as threatened, most of them placed under mandatory evacuation orders, Yeun said.

The evacuation encompassed several Sierra communities, including the hamlets of Glencoe, Wilseyville and Pine Grove. Residents of additional areas were warned to be ready to flee on short notice.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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The blaze is one of the latest in a flurry of large, destructive wildfires that have ravaged drought-stricken forests, grasslands and chaparral throughout the West this summer.

As of Friday, firefighters were battling nearly three dozen large blazes and clusters of fires in California and five other Western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The largest active blaze in California, dubbed the Rough fire, was still burning six weeks after it was ignited by lightning in Kings Canyon National Park at the southern end of the Sierra range.

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That fire has scorched more than 119,000 acres and forced evacuations of park staff and visitors from a large swath of Kings Canyon as it menaced the famed Grant Grove of giant Sequoia trees. The vicinity around Grant Grove was closed to the public on Friday, along with the park’s Cedar Grove area.


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Giuliani’s latest trip to Ukraine opened a new door for prosecutors to go after Trump: MSNBC analyst

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On MSNBC Saturday afternoon, legal analyst Danny Cevallos explained how Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to produce anti-impeachment propaganda could end up harming his legal position — by muddying attorney-client privilege with President Donald Trump.

"The only path to legitimacy is if there was a true corruption threat in Ukraine, and specifically if Hunter Biden and Burisma posed a true corruption threat," said Cevallos. "That is why Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. He's building that case. So that he can show, bring a news network there, right-leaning news network to do a documentary or investigate this issue and yield factual information that Rudy Giuliani can point to and say, this corruption, this evidence, these facts show that President trump was warranted in requesting an investigation, not generally into corruption, specifically into Hunter Biden. It's the only path that will work for Republicans that passes even remotely any kind of smell test. Even then, it's a bit of a stretch."

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Trump declares himself the ‘greatest of all presidents’ in manic tweetstorm attacking Pelosi and Democrats

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Donald Trump broke out of his Twitter hibernation on Saturday afternoon just before flying off to Florida for a pair of fundraisers, and used the opportunity to declare himself the "greatest of all presidents."

Attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not passing his signature trade bill, Trump then went after Democrats for trying to impeach him -- saying they were making a big mistake.

On Twitter, the president wrote: ""Hard to believe, but if Nancy Pelosi had put our great Trade Deal with Mexico and Canada, USMCA, up for a vote long ago, our economy would be even better. If she doesn’t move quickly, it will collapse!"

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Donald Trump sounds like a complete lunatic because he’s isolated himself in a far-right media bubble

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

If you have an older relative who spends way too much time stewing in the conservative media, you may have experienced a moment when you not only disagreed with him, but you realized that you had no earthly clue what he was going on about. Perhaps it was when he started talking about the UN plot to eliminate golf courses and replace paved roads with bicycle paths. Maybe he stopped you in your tracks with a discourse on why flies were attracted to Barack Obama, or complained about the government insisting on referring to Christians as "Easter-worshippers" or expressed outrage over 9/11 hijackers being given leniency by Muslim jurists.

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