California Today: See New Growth After the Woolsey Fire

U.S.|See New Growth After the Woolsey Fire

California Today


Kevin Shea Adams, an L.A.-based photographer, documented regrowth after the Woolsey Fire.CreditCreditKevin Shea Adams

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This week, it will have been six months since the Woolsey Fire scorched tens of thousands of acres of hills and homes in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

While the Woolsey Fire was much less deadly than the Camp Fire — the explosive blaze that killed 86 people and left the town of Paradise almost completely in ashes — it was still among the state’s most damaging.

For residents of Thousand Oaks, the blaze was especially devastating; some were forced to evacuate just hours after surviving the horrific shooting at the Border Line Bar & Grill.

And the Woolsey Fire tore through some of the region’s beloved outdoor areas, leaving behind charred hiking trails and scorching Old West film sets, a 155-year-old mission station and Jewish summer camps in the Santa Monica Mountains.

But a rainy winter, for all its implications about our changing climate, means that the barren earth didn’t stay that way for long.

Kevin Shea Adams, a photographer based in Los Angeles, told me he stumbled upon the land in a striking transitional state earlier this year, hiking in Malibu Creek State Park.


Mr. Adams was struck by the contrast between the green of new growth, and the Woolsey Fire-charred landscape. CreditKevin Shea Adams

“Las Virgenes Road is a road I’ve taken many times to go surfing in Malibu, and I hadn’t ever actually explored the Santa Monicas very much,” he said. “As soon as I got there, I was kind of blown away by the landscape.”

That bright green carpet of new growth created an almost abstract visual contrast with the blackened hills.


The photographer said he felt like he was capturing an ecological rarity. CreditKevin Shea Adams

So Mr. Adams said he returned with progressively longer camera lenses over several weekends starting in March to capture a rare scene.

“It’s amazing how quickly that landscape sort of rebounded — how resilient it was,” he said. “It was kind of a nice palate cleanser in a way.”


Areas scarred by fire, carpeted in green. CreditKevin Shea Adams


The regrowth, to Mr. Adams, demonstrated the resilience of California. CreditKevin Shea Adams

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• Representative Nancy Pelosi, de facto head of the Democratic Party, said she didn’t think impeaching the president would work to remove him. Instead, she said, Democrats must win the 2020 presidential election by a margin so large that President Trump can’t contest the results — because she’s worried he will. [The New York Times]

President Trump has tapped Mark Morgan to head ICE. He’s a former Obama administration official and F.B.I. agent who has supported many of the president’s tough stances on immigration. [The New York Times]

• It’s official: Months after Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his State of the State speech that he didn’t support a twin tunnel water project championed by his predecessor, Jerry Brown, he scrapped the $16 billion plan in favor of a single tunnel fix. [The Associated Press]

• Uber is set to go public this week, a huge milestone for its C.E.O., Dara Khosrowshahi, who came into the company as essentially the best-compensated janitor in Silicon Valley. But Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, looms over the ceremony both literally and as a symbol of the woes the company can’t seem to fully leave behind. [The New York Times]

Facebook knows it’s facing major fines — most likely in the $3 billion to $5 billion range — for misusing users’ personal data. But federal regulators are split on how big the fine should be. [The New York Times]

The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians at one point dwindled to one member. But now the tribe is back up to 12 members and runs business ventures including a casino and solar farm. Read about the women who are helping it bounce back. [The Desert Sun]

• “I’m shocked they still exist at all.” Pop Physique, a small chain of boutique barre exercise studios, suddenly shuttered locations and refused to refund customers who purchased classes. But interviews and court document suggest the company’s owners knew for months it was in trouble. [BuzzFeed News]

• Thousands turned out in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw neighborhood to see Rodeo Road be officially renamed Obama Boulevard on Saturday: “A lot of people will say it’s just another street, but for me, being 15 years old, a black child looking up and seeing the name of the first black president in my own ’hood — that gives me hope.” [The Los Angeles Times]

• The small border city of Imperial Beach just passed one of the most restrictive single-use plastic bans in the state. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]


The Bruin Voice, a student publication at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, Calif., battled with the Lodi school district over publishing a story.CreditAnastasiia Sapon for The New York Times

• “I think they lose their minds, quite frankly, when they hear that word.” A fight by a high school newspaper in Stockton to publish a profile of a student who appears in pornographic videos has garnered way more attention than the article itself probably would have. The issue became a lightning rod for views about press freedom and feminism. [The New York Times]

Meet the “Gringo Xolos,” fans of Tijuana’s professional soccer team who live north of the border. Their numbers are growing. [KPBS]

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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