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I’m Winston Gieseke, an editor at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, and under normal circumstances I would probably be using this space to mention how hot it is here in the desert and how I can’t wait for winter. But today, all I’m yearning for is an end to the wildfires ravaging our state and return to the clean air and blue skies we often take for granted.

In the meantime, here are some highlights of the various goings-on today in California.

In California brings you top Golden State stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.

Fires continue to burn throughout the state

Blue skies, not smiling at me: Officials say the skies in the southern part of the Golden State that are engulfed in a thick layer of smoke from the various wildfires are likely to remain that way for days.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service has reported that the thick smoke is high in the atmosphere and should not directly impact anyone at lower elevations. For those living several thousand feet above sea level, it’s a different story.

“It’s more hazy than it should be this time of year,” said Brian Kraus, 74, a resident of Yucca Valley. “Not what you’d expect from a desert in September. Very gloomy.” 

There are currently 40 major fires burning across the state, with at least three of them new since Friday, including: 

  • The Creek Fire, located northeast of Fresno, which ignited Friday and has burned 143,929 acres in the Sierra National Forest.
  • The Bobcat Fire, which began Sunday and has burned 4,871 acres in the Angeles National Forest, north of Azusa.

and finally:

  • The El Dorado Fire, located about 70 miles east of Los Angeles near Yucaipa in San Bernardino County. It started Saturday and has burned 10,574 acres. 

Speaking of the El Dorado Fire, officials say the blaze was ignited by a pyrotechnic device used by a family to reveal of the gender of their baby. The family, who authorities say has been cooperative, called 911 after attempting to put out the fire themselves.

While the investigation is ongoing, no arrests have been made. The district attorney will decide if any charges will be filed, and that decision may depend on the ultimate extent of the damage and whether or not the fire results in bodily injury.

“That [decision] will take some time,” Cal Fire Capt. Bennet Milloy told The Desert Sun. “It’ll take weeks, if not months.”

“Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially responsible and criminally responsible,” Cal Fire officials stated in a press release on Sunday.

In related news: The woman credited with creating the gender-reveal trend more than a decade ago is now urging people to refrain from the activity: “For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s [privates]. No one cares but you,” Jenna Karvunidis pleaded on Facebook.

All I need is the air that I breathe: San Joaquin County’s air quality is deemed “unhealthy” due to fires; residents woke this morning to smoky skies and ash raining down.

More than 100 trapped hikers and campershave been rescued from the Lake Edison and China Peak areas, where the Creek Fire continues to burn.

Football sans fans

On Sunday, when the Los Angeles Rams play the Dallas Cowboys, the battle will take place in the brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Unfortunately, the $5 billion state-of-the-art indoor-outdoor facility, which is reportedly three times the size of Disneyland, will not be enjoyed by fans in the near future due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Rams’ COO, Kevin Demoff, said: “I don’t think when we sat at the drawing board five years ago, we ever conceived that we would open up without fans, but I don’t think there’s anything about 2020 that any of us ever could have conceived.”

The stadium has already been booked for Super Bowl LVI in 2022. Let’s hope large gatherings are allowed by then.

Hiker dies in Joshua Tree; temperatures hit 120

Sad news: A hiker found unconscious in Joshua Tree National Park over the weekend died after efforts to revive him failed. The hiker’s companion contacted park officials around 7 p.m. Saturday saying he needed help; the park’s search and rescue team located the man around 11:30 p.m.

And a few bits of easily digestible, bite-sized news:

Santa Ynez Valley resident, rocker extraordinaire and soccer mom (who knew?) Pink turns 41 today. Let’s enjoy a look at the superstar through the years.

The ANA Inspiration returns to the Coachella Valley. This women’s pro golf tournament once bore the name of entertainer Dinah Shore.

It’s always nice to get an announcement of a pending announcement. Apple revealed today that it will have big news for us on Sept. 15.

And finally, in heartwarming animal rescue news,here’s a video of deputies from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office helping trapped bear cubs escape from a dumpster. You’re welcome.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Stay safe.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Business Insider, cnbc.com, E! News, Insider.com, the Los Angeles Times and lpga.com.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/09/08/fires-air-quality-gender-reveal-trapped-hikers-los-angeles-rams/5749819002/

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