TIME California

Watch a Cop Save a Man’s Life Seconds Before a Train Hits His Car

The sheriff's deputy and his partner are being hailed as heroes

A driver barely escaped from his car—with the help of a couple of sheriff’s deputies—mere seconds before it was hit by a train in the northern California town of Sunnyvale.

The driver, who police said was drunk, was “yanked” to safety. The rescue was captured in shocking surveillance video, shown blow, which may be disturbing to some.

The video shows Deputy Lance Whitted pulling on a stumbling man, who falls, as the train approaches; the deputy is able to dragging him to safety just as a Caltrain commuter train crashes into the car, crumpling the front half. Another deputy, Erik Rueppel, was also on the scene and notified track authorities of the situation.

“If it had not been for the deputies being at the right place at the right time, the driver would have been significantly injured,” San Mateo County Sheriff’s spokesman Salvador Zuno told NBC Bay Area.

The driver is under investigation.

TIME fire

More Than 13,000 People Evacuate Due to California Wildfire

California Wildfires
Josh Edelson—AP CalFire firefighter Bo Santiago lights a backfire as the Rocky fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on, Aug. 3, 2015.

The largest fire in California roughly tripled in size over the weekend

(CLEAR LAKE, Calif.) — As firefighters battled a massive Northern California wildfire threatening numerous homes, some of the 13,000 people urged to flee their residences spent what may be just one of many nights in evacuation shelters.

The blaze grew to more than 101 square miles Tuesday as it chewed through drought-withered brush that has not burned in years in the Lower Lake area, about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

More than 3,000 firefighters tried to stand their ground against the fire that jumped a highway that had served as a containment line and grew by several square miles despite cooler weather and higher humidity. Its rapid growth caught firefighters off guard and shocked residents.

Vicki Estrella, who has lived in the area for 22 years, stayed at a Red Cross shelter at Middletown High School with her husband and their dog.

“It’s amazing the way that thing spread,” Estrella said. “There was smoke 300 feet in the air.”

Cooler weather Tuesday is helping crews build a buffer between the flames and some of the 6,900 homes it threatens. Despite the fire’s growth, no additional homes were consumed outside the two dozen already destroyed.

More than 13,000 people have been forced to evacuate or warned to leave since the blaze ignited Wednesday.

“This is the number one priority wildfire in the state of California, so it is getting the lion’s share of resources,” said Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Hugo Patino, who has a crew on the lines.

Crews have conducted controlled burns, setting fire to shrubs to rob the blaze of fuel and protect homes in a rural area of grasslands and steep hills. Nearly a week into the fight, fatigue has set in for crews, leading resources from in and out of state to rotate in.

“There were too many (spot fires) for us to pick up,” Battalion Chief Carl Schwettmann of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told the San Francisco Chronicle. “With these drought-stricken fuels, it’s just moving at an extremely high rate of speed.”

Many people are aiding evacuees, handing out items such as pillows, apples and piles of French toast.

Tabetha Atwood, owner of Our Happy Tails Etc., a dog bakery in Clear Lake, helped match wayward dogs with their owners Tuesday. She also had dog treats on hand for folks who came by with their pets.

“These are our friends, our family and our neighbors,” she said.

The fire — the largest blaze in California — roughly tripled in size over the weekend, generating its own winds that fanned the flames and reduced thousands of acres of manzanita shrubs and other brush to barren land in hours.

“There’s a lot of old growth-type vegetation and four years of drought to dry it all out,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. “It was ready to go.”

The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the fire and has asked his aides to stay in close touch with California Gov. Jerry Brown and other local officials.

Numerous other wildfires in California, Washington state and Oregon took off as the effects of drought and summer heat turned the West Coast combustible.

California blazes killed a firefighter last week and injured four others. Crews battled at least 20 other wildfires in the state — some sparked by lightning — though none as big as the Lower Lake blaze.

The fire is well short of historic proportions, however. One of the largest wildfires in California history was a 2013 blaze that took out 400 square miles of Sierra Nevada wilderness.

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Associated Press writers Olga R. Rodriguez, Sudhin Thanawala and Kristin J. Bender in San Francisco and Yara Bishara in Phoenix contributed to this report.

TIME California

Cooler Weather Helps Crews Battling California Wildfires

APTOPIX California Wildfires
Jeff Chiu—AP Firefighters spray a hose at a fire along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., on July 31, 2015

At least two dozen homes were destroyed

(LOWER LAKE, Calif.) — Cooler weather helped crews build a buffer Monday between a raging Northern California wildfire and some of the thousands of homes it threatened as it tore through drought-withered brush that hadn’t burned in years.

At least two dozen homes were destroyed over the past few days, and more than 13,000 people were urged to flee.

The fire — the largest blaze in drought-stricken California — roughly tripled in size over the weekend to 93 square miles, generating its own winds that fanned the flames and reduced thousands of acres of manzanita shrubs and other brush to barren land in hours.

“There’s a lot of old growth-type vegetation and four years of drought to dry it all out,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “It was ready to go.”

The fire was burning in the Lower Lake area, about 100 miles north of San Francisco and 10 miles from Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake entirely within California and a popular spot for boaters and campers. Fire officials said no homes around the lake were threatened.

Evacuated residents were amazed at how quickly the flames spread.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Donna McDonald, of Clear Lake, said at a high school that had been turned into a shelter. “I was very happy at one point when I saw no smoke at all. Then all of a sudden it just flared up real big again.”

Layna Rivas, of Clearlake Oaks, evacuated her home over the weekend and wanted to get back to feed her chickens.

“You have to have that let go feeling and know everything is going to be OK,” she said. “My place is going to be safe, my animals are going to be safe.”

Lower temperatures and higher humidity Monday allowed firefighters to contain more of the fire, said CalFire Capt. Don Camp.

“We are hoping we only have to deal with winds from the weather instead of the fire creating its own winds,” he said.

Numerous other wildfires in California, Washington state and Oregon took off as the effects of drought and summer heat turned the West Coast combustible. California blazes killed a firefighter last week and injured four others.

Crews in the Lower Lake area conducted controlled burns, setting fire to shrubs to rob the blaze of fuel and protect some of 5,500 homes threatened. The fire was burning in a rural area of grasslands and steep hills.

The fire destroyed at least 24 homes and 26 outbuildings. More than 13,000 people have been forced from their homes or have been warned to leave.

More fire crews were brought in, bringing the number of firefighters to nearly 3,000. Two more National Guard air tankers were being brought in from Colorado to drop retardant, Tolmachoff said.

Crews battled 20 other wildfires in California — some sparked by lightning — though none as big as the Lower Lake blaze. Mandatory evacuations were also in place farther north in a remote rural area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The Lower Lake fire is well short of historic proportions. One of the largest wildfires in California history was a 2013 blaze that took out 400 square miles of Sierra Nevada wilderness.

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Daley reported from Middletown, Calif. Associated Press writers Sudhin Thanawala and Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco and Yara Bishara in Phoenix contributed to this report.

TIME natural disaster

See the Devastation Wrought by Wildfire in California

12,000 people were evacuated after the fire spread to more than 84 square miles on Monday

TIME natural disaster

Hundreds Flee California Wildfires as Governor Declares State of Emergency

A firefighter was killed in the fires

(LOWER LAKE, Calif.)—Blazes raging in forests and woodlands across California have taken the life of a firefighter and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes as an army of firefighters continue to battle them from the air and the ground.

Twenty-three large fires, many sparked by lightning strikes, were burning across Northern California on Saturday, said state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant. Some 8,000 firefighters were attempting to subdue them, something made incredibly difficult by several years of drought that have dried out California.

“The conditions and fire behavior we’re seeing at 10 in the morning is typically what we’d see in late afternoon in late August and September,” said Nick Schuler, a division chief with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “But because of the dry conditions, because of the drought-stricken vegetation accompanied by the steep terrain and winds, we’re seeing fire activity that’s abnormal for this time of year.”

In the Modoc National Forest, about a hundred miles south of Oregon, David Ruhl, an engine captain from South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest, was killed fighting a fast-moving blaze. He had vanished Thursday while fighting the 800-acre fire and his body wasn’t recovered until Friday.

The biggest fire was in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco where firefighters had to wade through thick smoke and flying embers to turn loose horses, goats and other livestock in rural neighborhoods as their owners fled to safety. The fast-moving fire had burned three homes by Friday and was threatening 450 other structures. Only 5 percent contained, it had spread across 28 square miles and was growing quickly.

The fires prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for California on Friday. As part of the order, he activated the California National Guard to help with disaster recovery.

Berlant said firefighters were hoping cooler weather might help them this weekend, but there was also the threat that lingering thunderstorms could bring more lightning strikes like those that ignited several of the fires.

__

BURNING HILLS

The fast-spreading wildfire near Lower Lake north of San Francisco has torched three homes and is threatening more than 450 structures.

At least 650 residents have been evacuated from their homes as the blaze raged in hills covered in dense brush and oak trees and dotted with ranch homes. It has charred 28 square miles near Lower Lake, south of Clear Lake, a popular summer recreation spot.

Only 5 percent contained, it was moving southwest toward Lower Lake and Clear Lake.

“We saw it behind our house. We saw the smoke pouring over. So we just started collecting stuff and we left, to find out later that everyone was evacuated out here,” said resident Julie Flannery.

When they returned Friday they found their two horses and one mule were gone. They hoped firefighters turned them loose so they could make their way to safety.

“The rest of this is just material stuff,” she said. “The animals and the family is the most important.”

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FIRE LINES HOLDING

Crews battling a fire east of Napa Valley held their ground Friday, more than a week after it started.

The blaze has charred more than 12 square miles in Solano County. The fire is about 45 miles east of Napa’s wine county, and vineyards are not threatened.

At least 136 structures are threatened, but evacuation orders have been lifted. It is mostly contained, and crews expect to have it fully corralled by Monday.

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FOOTHILLS FIRES

A woman was arrested in connection with a small fire near Groveland, a stop-off point for travelers headed to Yosemite National Park.

The 200-acre fire, about 20 miles from the park’s entrance, was 45 percent contained Friday. About two dozen homes are threatened and voluntary evacuations are in place.

Lisa Ann Vilmur was arrested Thursday night for recklessly causing a fire and jailed on $100,000 bail. It was not known Friday if she has an attorney.

In a separate foothills blaze northeast of Sacramento, evacuation orders have been lifted for residents of 50 homes. The fire, which ignited Saturday, burned through more than 3 1/2 square miles and is almost fully contained.

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BASS LAKE BLAZE

Residents of 200 homes in the central California community of Cascadel Woods were ordered to evacuate Thursday.

A wildfire burning near Bass Lake for several days spread to more than 6 square miles and is partially contained.

Authorities say a boy acknowledged starting the fire by playing with a lighter to burn pine needles in the dry Sierra Nevada. They say the boy faces criminal charges but is not in custody because he and his family are cooperating.

___

MODOC NATIONAL FOREST FIRE

Engine Captain David Ruhl of South Dakota was killed battling the fire that broke out Thursday in the Modoc National Forest about 100 miles south of Oregon.

The firefighter had vanished Thursday and his body wasn’t found until Friday. U.S. Forest Service officials didn’t immediately reveal the cause of death.

Ruhl, who was assigned to a Black Hills National Forest firefighting team, had been helping California firefighters since June.

The fire broke out southeast of Lava Camp and rapidly grew to consume 800 acres. No containment figure was immediately given.

TIME BMW

Why BMW Is Paying Some Car Owners $1,000

BMW Launch Their First All- Electric Car
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images

It's trying to get people to change their behavior

Last year, Los Angeles carved out a plan to become a national electric vehicle leader by 2017. The city has since hit a roadblock. The environment would benefit radically if everyone had an electric car, but as the electric cars become more popular, utility companies have to figure out ways to support them.

BMW and PG&E, a California utility company, have joined forces in a trial that they’re calling the “BMW iCharge Forward” program, which they hope will solve the issue. They announced the 18-month trial in January and are finally starting it this month.

PG&E will alert BMW during peak hours when it wants to limit energy consumption. The car company will then alert drivers not to charge their cars for the next hour. The drivers can select their preferred driving hours, which BMW will keep in mind when choosing which customers they’ll request to refrain from charging. The drivers can also opt out if they can’t commit to a delay.

100 BMW i3 drivers have agreed to participate. Each participant receives a $1,000 gift card at the beginning of the program, and at the end of the 18 months they’ll get a second one worth up to $540, depending on how many times they’ve complied with the delay.

TIME fire

Officials Are Looking for People Who Flew Drones Over California Wildfires

The drone operators could be prosecuted for murder if the drones caused delays that led to deaths of any firefighters or civilians

Officials want to know who flew drones near several wildfires in California’s San Bernardino mountains, causing firefighters to temporarily ground their flame-battling planes.

The reward for someone who identifies the drone operators? $75,000.

“In the most recent fire, the North Fire, we saw cars and trucks burning on the freeway, we saw homes burn, and we saw families running for their lives,” Jorge Ramos, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.

“We want to know who was flying drones, and we want them punished,” he said. “Someone knows who they are, and there is $75,000 waiting…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crossfit

560 Insanely Fit People Are Currently Competing at the 2015 CrossFit Games

543194585
Peathegee Inc — Getty Images/Blend Images

The winners will split a $2 million cash prize

The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games are taking place in Carson, California this week, where 560 of the world’s best CrossFit athletes will attempt to lift, run and sweat their way to first place in their respective divisions.

The Games began on July 21 and will continue until July 26 at the StubHub Center. They will also stream online on CrossFit’s website as well as on ESPN.

The event has tripled in size in the past year, the Daily Breeze, a local newspaper, reports. Kyle Waters, the assistant general manager at the StubHub Center, told the paper that around 50,000 spectators are expected to arrive in the town of less than 100,000.

CrossFit combines gymnastics, lifting and aerobics into a competitive sport. Started by Greg Glassman 15 years ago, the fitness trend has developed a cult-like following globally. According to Quartz, the company behind CrossFit earned $40 million in 2012 alone and has tripled its number of gyms worldwide in the past three years.

Contestants do not know what activity they will be taking part in until the day of competition. But so far, they have participated in gruelling tasks like 50-meter sandbag runs, chest-to-bar pullups and deadlifts. The winners of the week’s activities will split a $2 million cash prize amongst themselves, the Breeze reports.

[Daily Breeze]

TIME India

This 10-Year-Old Indian Boy Just Won Two World Junior Golf Titles in Two Weeks

The son of a milkman, he started the game in the empty fields of his village

He’s barely a tween, but India’s Shubham Jaglan has already begun scripting a remarkable success story on the world stage with two titles in two weeks on the World Junior Golf circuit.

The 10-year-old, who hails from the northern Indian state of Haryana, won the International Junior Golf Association’s World Stars of Junior Golf event on Thursday, Indian news channel NDTV reported.

Shubham secured a five-stroke win over the U.S.’s Justin Dang and Sihan Sandhu and Thailand’s Pongsapak Laopakdee to win the Boys 9-10 Years title in Las Vegas, building on his victory at the World Junior Golf Championships in California last Sunday.

The Indian youngster’s rural background — his father works as a milkman and he started his career at age 5 by practicing in agricultural fields — makes his achievements all the more extraordinary.

“I’m just working hard and being honest, there are no shortcuts for me,” Shubham said, describing the victory as a “dream come true.”

Indian netizens were quick to congratulate the young golf prodigy.

[NDTV]

TIME California

Huge Forest Fire Ravages 6,000 Acres in Northern California

wragg fire california
Joel Rosenbaum—AP CalFire Air tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge above Pleasants Valley Rd. near Winters, Calif., as crews continue to battle the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015.

"It's unbelievable fire could spread so fast"

The Wragg fire on the outskirts of California’s Napa Valley chewed through thousands of acres of steep, treacherous terrain Thursday, forcing mandatory evacuations of two small communities and threatening more than 200 structures, fire officials said.

The fire in the area of Wragg Canyon near Lake Berryessa in Napa and Solano counties spread from 1,000 acres Wednesday night to 6,700 by early Thursday afternoon, the state, local and federal interagency team battling the blaze said. More than 1,300 firefighters were in the scene, less than 24 hours after the fire started.

Lake Berryessa is about 30 miles east of Napa Valley. Winds were erratic, but they…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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