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Fire crews battle as deadly California wildfires rage on

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Firefighters battled overnight to contain wildfires in Northern California, evacuating residents in the path of 15 separate blazes that have killed at least 10 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

Efforts to control the fires, which swept through the state’s world-famous wine country, were being helped by more favorable weather conditions, a spokesman for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services said.

However, the death toll could still rise, Brad Alexander warned.

“Firefighters and emergency management workers were taking advantage of the winds dying down …and a lot of work is going to be done overnight and early (Tuesday) morning,” he said late on Monday.

“…The top priority is still the evacuations for the most active fires because life protection is the number one concern.”

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Some 20,000 people had been evacuated from their homes since Sunday, officials said, while broadcaster CNN said more than 100 had been treated for fire-related injuries including burns and smoke inhalation.

About 1,500 homes and commercial buildings had been destroyed, Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said on Monday.

Fanned by high temperatures and dry conditions, the 15 fires broke out over the weekend and spread to cover some 73,000 acres (114 sq miles), fire officials said.

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The largest, covering 42 sq miles and 39 sq miles respectively, struck in Napa and Sonoma counties, the heartland of California’s wine industry where the status of the crop currently being harvested was unclear on Monday.

In addition to potential damage to vineyards from fire itself, experts say sustained exposure to heavy smoke can taint unpicked grapes.

Fred Oliai, 47, owner of the Alta Napa Valley Winery, said winemakers were nervous.

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“You can’t see anything, the smoke is very dense,” he told Reuters by telephone on Monday. He had not been able to get close enough to his vineyards to see if flames reached his 90-acre property.

“We got our grapes in last week, but others still have grapes hanging,” he said.

Schools and colleges near the wildfires canceled Tuesday’s classes, and two hospitals in Sonoma County were forced to evacuate, state officials said.

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California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Napa, Sonoma and five other counties.

That included Orange County in Southern California, where a wildfire on Monday destroyed at least a half dozen homes in the affluent Anaheim Hills neighborhood, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents, authorities said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Keith Coffman in Denver, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Gina Cherelus and Joseph Ax in New York; editing by John Stonestreet)


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Watch Rachel Maddow broadcast ‘exclusive story’ that undermines Mike Pence’s claims

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday presented an "exclusive story" -- that undermines public claims by the Trump administration.

Vice President Mike Pence has been among the biggest defenders of the detention camps the administration is running near the southern border.

Pence has described the treatment of detainees as "compassionate" and "excellent."

https://twitter.com/VP/status/1149879335454515200

But that was not what Maddow reported on Monday.

"You haven’t seen this anywhere else," she introduced. "This is the first time this has been broadcast."

The story was an exclusive interview NBC News correspondent Julia Ainsley conducted with a child refugee from Guatemala who was held in one of the camps for eleven days.

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WATCH: 10 videos show massive flooding hitting Brooklyn and New Jersey after torrential downpour

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A massive flood is once again striking parts of New York City and New Jersey Monday as the heatwave gave way to a torrential downpour.

The storm moved through after 6 p.m. EST, dropping several inches of rain in a short period and causing immense flash flooding during rush hour. Commuters reported unusually large crowds on subway platforms, water flowing down subway stairs and huge leaks in the ceilings.

Airports were also dealing with the storm blowing through with time delays at LaGuardia, JFK and the Newark Airports.

Some folks took the flood in stride, bringing out pool toys to ride the waves:

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Protesters take to the streets outside judge’s home after he approves controversial jail sentence for black judge

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On Monday, angry crowds of people came to the neighborhood of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker after he ordered former judge Tracie Hunter to serve a six-month prison sentence for mishandling a confidential document.

The scenes from the courtroom were dramatic, with Hunter's supporters screaming as she collapsed upon Dinkelacker upholding the sentence, and officers dragging her limp figure from the courtroom:

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