California man gets life sentence for fatal synagogue attack

By ELLIOT SPAGAT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 22-year-old white supremacist was denied a chance to address a courtroom before a judge sentenced him Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into a Southern California synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle, killing one worshipper and wounding three others.

An agreement with prosecutors that spared John T. Earnest the death penalty left little suspense about the outcome, but the hearing provided 13 victims and families a chance to address the killer and gave a sense of finality to a case illustrating how online hate speech can lead to extremist violence. Many gave heart-wrenching accounts of how their lives were upended and how determined they were to persevere despite such devastating loss.

Earnest’s attorney, John O’Connell, said his client wanted to make a statement but San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh refused, saying he did not want to create “a political forum” for white supremacist views. Earnest has not spoken publicly or disavowed earlier statements.

“I’m not going to let him use this as a platform to add to his celebrity,” the judge said, pointing to comments that Earnest made to police when he was arrested, hand gestures to the audience during a previous hearing and his probation report.

Earnest, who was tied to a device that prevented him from turning to the audience, showed no visible reaction during the two-hour hearing as speakers called him a lowlife coward, an evil animal and a monster.

A prosecutor asked Deddeh to reconsider his refusal to let Earnest speak after conferring with the defense attorney about the substance of his remarks, but the judge didn’t budge.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, who listened to victims from a front-row seat, told reporters that Earnest’s planned statement was “more spewing of hatred and propaganda” and that the judge made the right call. The prosecutor asked the judge to reconsider only to guard against any possibility that Earnest alleges he was treated improperly, she said.

Earnest’s court-appointed attorney declined to speak with reporters. His parents did not attend.

Minutes after the shooting, Earnest called a 911 dispatcher to say he shot up the synagogue to save white people. “I’m defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people,” he said.

The San Diego man was inspired by mass shootings at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh and two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shortly before he attacked Chabad of Poway, a synagogue near San Diego, on April 27, 2019. He frequented 8chan, a dark corner of the internet, for those disaffected by mainstream social media sites to post extremist, racist and violent views.

Earnest legally bought a semi-automatic rifle in San Diego a day before the attack, according to a federal affidavit. He entered the synagogue with 10 bullets loaded and 50 more on his vest but fled after struggling to reload. Worshippers chased him to his car.

Earnest killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was hit twice in the foyer, and wounded an 8-year-old girl, her uncle and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was leading a service on the major Jewish holiday.

Dr. Howard Kaye, Lori’s husband of 32 years, said he has continued his rheumatology practice to help people heal regardless of their backgrounds in keeping with his faith but that it was difficult for him and their daughter to carry on at times. Lori was active in charities and sacrificed a banking career to raise their daughter, he said.

“This is a superior person and a wonderful woman,” Howard Kaye said.

Hannah Kaye said her mother was victim of “an ancient hatred” of Jews. She recounted their last day together on a visit home from college in exquisite detail: their “deep and humorous conversation” in the car, a final hug as her mother dressed for services and how she held her mother’s head and said she loved her as she lay dying.

As she entered her seventh decade, Lori Gilbert-Kaye had lots of desires, Hannah said, including wanting to attend law school, ride a hot air balloon and own a restaurant that served her father’s barbecue.

“She wanted to live another day, she wanted to survive,” Hannah said of her mother’s last moments.

Almog Peretz, who was shot with his 8-year-old niece, was emotionally unprepared to attend the hearing but a Hebrew translator read his statement about how the episode killed “my body and soul.” He said his dreams are haunted and that others now define him as a “terrorist’s victim.”

“I have no motivation to see things to the end,” Peretz said, speaking of work and friendships.

Earnest’s parents issued a statement after the shooting expressing shock and sadness, calling their son’s actions a “terrifying mystery.” Their son was an accomplished student, athlete and musician who was studying to be a nurse at California State University, San Marcos.

“To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries,” they said.

In a statement issued by their lawyer late Thursday, the family said “our hearts are heavy and our sadness profound.”

“Right now, we cannot add to the words we have previously expressed, except to say that the hate that motivated him will not win. Love must win,” the statement said.

His conviction for murder and attempted murder at the synagogue and arson for an earlier fire at a nearby mosque carry a life sentence without parole, plus 137 years in prison.

Earnest also faces sentencing in federal court on Dec. 28, having pleaded guilty after the Justice Department said it wouldn’t seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are recommending a life sentence.

Stephan, the district attorney, said prosecution in state and federal court “makes me sleep better at night.”

The attack was “racism, antisemitism and every kind of hate all wrapped into one,” she said.

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Why a Covid-19 vaccine for younger children is taking longer than a vaccine for adults

By Jen Christensen | CNN

Anxiety is high among parents as more kids head back to school without the protection of a Covid-19 vaccine for at least a few more months.

Parents have a reason to be concerned. After months of declining cases, the virus is finding the unvaccinated.

Adolescents as young as 12 can be vaccinated against Covid-19, but younger children aren’t eligible yet. Children made up nearly a quarter of the reported cases for the week ending August 26. The numbers have “increased exponentially,” reaching levels the United States hasn’t seen since last winter, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday.

Children have largely been spared the worst of Covid-19 — hospitalizations and deaths are more rare for children than for adults — although children’s hospitals are filling up in Covid-19 hotspots around the country.

A kids’ vaccine cannot come soon enough, but the process is taking longer than some initially expected.

“We had really hoped that maybe we would have something in place before we tried to bring kids back into the school classroom, but, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that,” said Dr. Emily Chapman, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Children’s Minnesota.

Timeline for younger children’s Covid-19 vaccines

Trial data are still being gathered for Covid-19 vaccines for younger children. Once the vaccine companies have trial results, they’ll need to submit the information to the US Food and Drug Administration, which will assess the vaccines for authorization.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner who now sits on the board of Covid-19 vaccine maker Pfizer, said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation that the company will likely be able to file the data for 5-11-year-olds for authorization “at some point in September” and then file the application for an emergency use of the vaccine “potentially as early as October.”

“That’ll put us on a time frame where the vaccines could be available at some point late fall, more likely early winter depending on how long FDA takes to review the application,” Gottlieb said.

There’s no official timetable once a company submits to the FDA. Emergency use considerations can take several weeks.

“There’s always something that makes things not the way we think,” said Dr. Stanley Perlman, who is on the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and is also a pediatrician and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa Health Care. “Obviously, we want it done as soon as possible, but we want it done right.”

When asked Wednesday whether a Covid-19 vaccine will be authorized for young children before Thanksgiving, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he hopes so, but he does not want to get ahead of the FDA.

“They should be getting the data, at least in one of the companies, by the end of September,” noted Fauci.

“Then the data will be presented to the FDA, and the FDA will make a determination whether they will grant that under an emergency use authorization or some other mechanism.”

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a National Parent Teacher Association town hall Wednesday that she is hopeful the Pfizer vaccine will be available for kids in 2021.

“Everybody is looking at this with urgency. Everyone recognizes how important it is for those children to have access to vaccines,” she said when asked about the timeline. “My understanding of the timeline is pretty consistent with what is being said: the middle of fall is my understanding, early fall is when we will anticipate seeing the data, and then it will lie with the hands of the FDA. And I’m hopeful for the end of the year.”

Data for 2-to-5-year-olds could arrive soon after the older kids’ data. For the youngest children, Pfizer told CNN it could potentially have enough research by October or November, and shortly thereafter ask the FDA to authorize emergency use.

Moderna’s trial is underway, but is a few months behind Pfizer. Johnson & Johnson doesn’t expect its multiple trials in children to even start until the fall.

Why a vaccine for younger children takes longer

Hundreds of millions of adults have been vaccinated, proving that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, but those results are not a substitute for the research needed in kids.

“As much as we would like to go ahead and start vaccinating our children now, it’s most important that we take this time to ensure that the science is rigorous,” said Minnesota’s Chapman.

For the kid’s version of the Covid-19 vaccine, scientists use results from the adult trials and a full pediatric trial.

Having the adult research speeds up the process. For people as young as 12, Perlman explains, the companies didn’t have to enroll the 30,000 people it needed for adult trials because it could do what’s called “immunobridging.” The data showed that for this age group, the immune response was the equivalent of adults’.

Companies take a similar approach with the younger kids, but in early August, the FDA asked for six months of follow-up safety data, instead of the two months it asked for with adults. It also asked Pfizer and Moderna to double the number of children ages 5 to 11 in clinical trials.

Vaccine advisers to the CDC said in June there is a likely association between the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and extremely rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults, but the benefits of vaccination still clearly outweigh the risks. The inflammation cases appeared to be mild, and they resolved quickly on their own or with minimal treatment.

At Texas Children’s Hospital, interim pediatrician-in-chief Dr. James Versalovic said it was no problem to recruit more kids for the Pfizer and Moderna trials. Many trial sites have long waiting lists. The trial expansion, though, added at least a month more to the research process.

“We all agreed it was worthwhile, just to make the trials even more robust data to provide that additional level of reassurance to parents across the country. It does lengthen the trial, but just a bit,” Versalovic said.

‘Children are not small adults’

Children’s vaccine trials actually start in adults.

“Typically, every vaccine candidate, even for other conditions, would be evaluated first in adult patients and then in progressively younger ages,” explained Dr. Kari Simonsen, who is leading the trial of the Pfizer vaccine at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. “We can’t make assumptions about the safety or tolerability of medicines in children being the same as for adults,” she said.

It’s because of biology.

“As we are fond of saying in pediatrics: Children are not small adults. Children are children,” said Versalovic. “Their bodies are developing and will react differently, and we need to treat them differently.”

When it gets to the kids’ phase of the testing, scientists make their best educated guess on what dose would be safe and generate an immune response. The levels and timing is based on development stages.

“By and large our children have very active and responsive immune systems, and so we suspect that smaller doses of vaccine will trigger an adequate response in a child to successfully fight off infection,” said Chapman.

As with any vaccine testing, it must go through a three-phase trial before the FDA can authorize it. The first phase tests to see if the vaccine is safe in about 20 to 100 healthy kids.

Since these are expedited trials, scientists have combined phases 2 and 3 of the trials so they can do more steps in parallel, Versalovic said. In these phases, scientists monitor safety and test to see if the children’s immune systems respond to the vaccine. At this step, scientist recruit hundreds or even thousands of children. Some get vaccine, some get placebo and results are compared.

Only after these steps are complete can a company ask the FDA for authorization or approval.

If the FDA signs off on it, the vaccine gets another set of expert eyes with the CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices. That committee also puts together a formal recommendation around the delivery, storage, timing, distribution, and administration of the vaccine. The committee’s recommendation becomes official when the CDC director reviews and approves it.

In these intervening months, the experts say, children can stay Covid-19 free. Adults, though, will have to help them.

“Best thing we can do for them is surround them with adults who are vaccinated,” Chapman said. “And surround them with people who are masking and keep their masks on as much as possible.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Nearly two dozen California students and their families are stuck in Afghanistan

By Cheri Mossburg | CNN

About 20 San Diego students and their families who traveled to Afghanistan this summer are stranded in the country and unable to get to Kabul’s airport, school and congressional spokespeople told CNN Wednesday.

Six families, including about 24 children, became stuck in Afghanistan after traveling there to visit relatives, said Howard Shen, spokesperson for the Cajon Valley Union School District.

At least one of the stranded families was able to make it safely back to the US, Shen said Wednesday evening. The family has five children, four of whom are students in the district.

“They are stateside, and they are safe,” Shen said, noting it is unclear if they are currently in California or elsewhere.

“The hope is that all 24 students will be in school sooner rather than later,” Shen said.

The school district, which serves between 16,000 and 17,000 students from preschool through eighth grade, is home to a large immigrant and refugee population, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. District officials have reached out to US Rep. Darrell Issa for help getting the affected families back to the United States.

Issa and his staff “are aware of the location of several American citizens,” and are in direct and consistent contact with them, said Jonathan Wilcox, a spokesperson for the representative.

“They are scared, stranded and trapped in the Kabul area,” Wilcox said in a statement. “So far, they’ve been unable to reach the airport. I know the President and his Press Secretary have previously said this isn’t happening, but that’s dead wrong.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday there are about 1,500 people who may be Americans left in Afghanistan as evacuation operations continue. And while the pace of those evacuations has picked up significantly in recent days, Biden administration officials have voiced concern about security around Kabul’s airport.

The United States has evacuated at least 4,500 Americans since August 14 and more than 500 in the past day alone, Blinken said, adding that “over the past 24 hours we’ve been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely.”

“For the remaining roughly 1,000 contacts that we had who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, we’re aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day through multiple channels of communication,” he added.

Asked about the group of Southern California students at a White House briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “I certainly don’t have additional information on that.”

Wilcox said Issa and his staff are “in consistent contact” with the State Department and the Pentagon and others on the ground in Afghanistan.

“We have reason to believe that other California residents are very much in the same situation,” Wilcox said. “This is real.”

Shen, the district spokesperson, could not provide details on whether anyone from the group has been hurt amid the crowds of people who are hoping to flee the country, or whether the families are together.

“The situation is fluid, but we are expecting them to be back,” Shen said. “That is the hope.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Johnson & Johnson booster shot prompts large increase in immune response, company says

By Maggie Fox | CNN

Booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine generated a big spike in antibodies, the frontline immune system defenses against infection, the company reported Wednesday.

People who received a booster six to eight months after their initial J&J shots saw antibodies increase nine-fold higher than 28 days after the first shot, Johnson & Johnson said.

The data comes from two Phase 2 studies conducted in the United States and Europe, the company said in a statement. Some of the 2,000 or so people in the studies got booster doses six months after their first doses of J&J’s Janssen vaccine.

“New interim data from these studies demonstrate that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination,” the company said in its statement.

“We have established that a single shot of our COVID-19 vaccine generates strong and robust immune responses that are durable and persistent through eight months. With these new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses among study participants who had previously received our vaccine,” Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development for Janssen, said in a statement.

J&J said it was in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Medicines Agency, World Health Organization and other health authorities about the need for offering a booster dose of the Janssen vaccine.

“We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination,” Mammen added.

Many people who received the J&J vaccine have been clamoring for information about whether they will need a booster shot. US federal government officials have said they are preparing to start offering a booster dose to people who got Moderna’s or Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine after data showed boosters can amp up the antibody response — and after studies started showing an uptick in infections in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The more transmissible Delta variant is partly to blame, experts say, as is a waning immune response.

The Janssen vaccine was authorized at the end of February, more than two months after Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines were authorized. About 14 million Americans have received the J&J vaccine, according to the CDC.

Dr. Dan Barouch, a vaccine researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School who is not involved in the two clinical studies but is helping study J&J vaccines, said the findings support getting a booster shot, but only after a delay.

“The boost at six months is going to look very impressive and substantially greater than what has already been reported in terms of the two month boost, and that is significant because it, in my opinion, the boost should not be at two months, but it really should be at six months or later,” Barouch told CNN.

Neither of the studies looked at real-world efficacy, so the company has not demonstrated that people who get boosters will be less likely to become infected or to develop severe disease. But researchers are beginning to agree that antibody levels do indicate immune protection.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is made differently from Pfizer’s and Moderna’s. Those two vaccines use messenger RNA or mRNA, encased in little lipid particles, to carry instructions to the body to start an immune response.

The Janssen vaccine uses a crippled common cold virus called an adenovirus to carry in similar instructions. There had been worries that a booster dose of such a viral vector vaccine might not work effectively because of the possibility the body would generate an immune response against the vector, also.

“There was a theoretical concern that the generation of anti-vector antibodies by the first shot could impede the use of it again,” Barouch said.

“I think these data put that to rest.”

Federal health officials have said they believe a booster dose of the Janssen vaccine will be needed at some point.

“I’m quite certain that the FDA, CDC, NIH, White House will use these data to likely justify or recommend a booster for J&J-vaccinated people, probably with a second shot of J&J,” Barouch said.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Should you cancel travel plans? A medical expert weighs in

By Katia Hetter | CNN

As Covid-19 cases are surging across the United States again, daily infection rates are at their highest levels since February, due in large part to the very contagious Delta variant.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has once again urged a return to indoor mask-wearing, citing that even vaccinated people can get infected and pass Covid-19 to others.

Meanwhile, many people have travel plans for the rest of the summer and the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. Should they cancel their vacations? Is air travel safe? What if they are getting together with extended family or friends over the holiday — what precautions need to be taken? And what about families with children too young to be vaccinated?

To help answer our many questions about travel and Covid-19 safety, we turned to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen. Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She’s also author of a new book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health,” and the mother of two young children.

CNN: What should people consider when deciding whether to continue, change or cancel their travel plans?

Dr. Leana Wen: The most important factor to consider is the medical risk of your household. Specifically, is everyone in your house vaccinated? If everyone is vaccinated and generally healthy, you are very well-protected from getting severely ill from Covid-19. Many people in this circumstance might decide that they could take the risk of mild symptoms if they were to contract coronavirus and proceed with all their original travel plans.

If someone in your home is unvaccinated or immunocompromised, you may decide differently. A very low risk trip may still be fine — for example, driving and then going camping and hiking with just your immediate family. But if the trip is going to involve spending a lot of time indoors with unmasked, unvaccinated people, I’d encourage the vulnerable individuals not to go on the trip. If some family members are still going to go, they could quarantine for at least three days upon return and then get tested before they get together indoors with vulnerable members of their household.

CNN: Would your advice depend on the location of the travel?

Wen: Yes, but in the US about 95% of the population lives in areas deemed by the CDC to have substantial or high levels of coronavirus transmission. I’d look at the specific area that you are thinking of traveling to and what you’d be doing there.

If you’re driving to a national park, and the plan is to spend all your time hiking outdoors, that’s very low risk. It doesn’t really matter if the community around the park has high Covid-19 transmission, if you don’t plan to interact with anyone there indoors.

That’s very different from if you’re planning a week of visiting museums, attending concerts, going to the theater and dining indoors. If those activities are taking place in a part of the country with a lot of virus transmission, you are being exposed constantly to Covid-19. The vaccines protect you well, but they are not 100%.

Risk is cumulative, and the more high-risk settings you are in, surrounded by people potentially carrying the virus, the more likely you are to experience a breakthrough infection even if you are vaccinated.

CNN: What’s your advice for people who have booked international travel? Should they go?

Wen: It depends. Again, make sure to look at your own medical risk and the risk of those in your family. Consider the location you’re going to. The CDC has updated information about Covid-19 by country divided into four levels of risk.

In addition, the US State Department has helpful information including the protocols that you need to follow in order to enter the country. Make sure to know the requirements. Some countries require proof of recent negative tests, for example, and some are beginning to require vaccination. Keep in mind that rules are constantly changing and stay flexible.

CNN: What about getting together for a wedding — would that be safe?

Wen: Once again, it depends. Many weddings involve people converging from different parts of the country or the world. That adds risk, especially since there are so many places with high levels of Covid-19 infection. It would certainly help if the hosts required that everyone attending is vaccinated.

Vaccinated people have an eight-fold reduced chance of contracting Covid-19 compared to unvaccinated people, according to estimates based on CDC data. If the ceremony and reception are both held outdoors, that would also reduce the risk. The opposite, of course, would be true of indoor gatherings of people of unknown vaccination status, who are eating and drinking and therefore not wearing masks. That would be a high-risk event.

CNN: Can we talk about modes of transportation — specifically plane travel. Is that still safe for vaccinated people? What about unvaccinated children?

Wen: Plane travel is still relatively safe for vaccinated people. Make sure to wear a high-quality mask at all times — ideally an N95 or KN95 mask. If you have to eat and drink, do so quickly, so as to minimize the amount of time you’re not wearing a mask.

Children too young to be vaccinated should also mask, if possible, with at least a 3-ply surgical mask. If they cannot keep on the mask for the duration of the trip, I would consider not bringing the child unless it’s an essential trip, such as moving across the country.

In my family, my husband and I will travel by plane and wear N95 or KN95 masks the entire time. Our son, who is almost four, is generally good about wearing masks, and if we had a short trip of a few hours’ flight, he’d be fine. But we have a 16-month-old daughter who is too young to mask. We would not feel comfortable bringing her on a flight right now.

Other families may make different decisions based on their level of risk tolerance as well as the value of the travel to them. For where we are in the pandemic, the risk is not worth the benefit to us.

CNN: Driving, going to rest stops, staying in a hotel en route — that’s all pretty safe from a Covid-19 standpoint, right?

Wen: Yes. Of course, use common sense — wear masks when going to the restroom in rest stops. Order carryout instead of eating indoors. Go directly to your room in the hotel, and don’t hang out in crowded hotel lobbies and bars.

CNN: What’s your advice for families who want to rent a house together?

Wen: The safest scenario is if everyone is fully vaccinated. If there are people who are unvaccinated, or if the people gathering want to reduce their risk further, everyone who wants to get together can essentially quarantine for three to five days and then get tested. By quarantine, I mean to reduce your risk by not getting together with other people indoors and not participating in higher-risk activities like indoor dining.

I know that this advice feels like we have taken a step backwards. It’s true — we have. Covid-19 cases are on the rise again, and we have the more contagious Delta variant to contend with.

Vaccination is the single most important step to protect us. In addition, depending on our individual circumstances, we should consider additional precautions to reduce risk and keep our families safe, while still enjoying travel.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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‘Nowhere to run’: UN report says global warming nears limits

By SETH BORENSTEIN | The Associated Press

Earth’s climate is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released Monday that the United Nations called a “code red for humanity.”

“It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

But scientists also eased back a bit on the likelihood of the absolute worst climate catastrophes.

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which calls climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal,” makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.

Each of five scenarios for the future, based on how much carbon emissions are cut, passes the more stringent of two thresholds set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. World leaders agreed then to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above levels in the late 19th century because problems mount quickly after that. The world has already warmed nearly 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past century and a half.

Under each scenario, the report said, the world will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. Warming has ramped up in recent years, data shows.

“Our report shows that we need to be prepared for going into that level of warming in the coming decades. But we can avoid further levels of warming by acting on greenhouse gas emissions,” said report co-chair Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a climate scientist at France’s Laboratory of Climate and Environment Sciences at the University of Paris-Saclay.

In three scenarios, the world will also likely exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times — the other, less stringent Paris goal — with far worse heat waves, droughts and flood-inducing downpours “unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades,” the report said.

“This report tells us that recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying, unprecedented in thousands of years,” said IPCC Vice Chair Ko Barrett, senior climate adviser for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 3,000-plus-page report from 234 scientists said warming is already accelerating sea level rise and worsening extremes such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. Tropical cyclones are getting stronger and wetter, while Arctic sea ice is dwindling in the summer and permafrost is thawing. All of these trends will get worse, the report said.

For example, the kind of heat wave that used to happen only once every 50 years now happens once a decade, and if the world warms another degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), it will happen twice every seven years, the report said.

As the planet warms, places will get hit more not just by extreme weather but by multiple climate disasters at once, the report said. That’s like what’s now happening in the Western U.S., where heat waves, drought and wildfires compound the damage, Mearns said. Extreme heat is also driving massive fires in Greece and Turkey.

Some harm from climate change — dwindling ice sheets, rising sea levels and changes in the oceans as they lose oxygen and become more acidic — is “irreversible for centuries to millennia,” the report said.

The world is “locked in” to 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) of sea level rise by mid-century, said report co-author Bob Kopp of Rutgers University.

Scientists have issued this message for more than three decades, but the world hasn’t listened, said United Nations Environment Program Executive Director Inger Andersen.

Nearly all of the warming that has happened on Earth can be blamed on emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. At most, natural forces or simple randomness can explain one- or two-tenths of a degree of warming, the report said.

The report described five different future scenarios based on how much the world reduces carbon emissions. They are: a future with incredibly large and quick pollution cuts; another with intense pollution cuts but not quite as massive; a scenario with moderate emission cuts; a fourth scenario where current plans to make small pollution reductions continue; and a fifth possible future involving continued increases in carbon pollution.

In five previous reports, the world was on that final hottest path, often nicknamed “business as usual.” But this time, the world is somewhere between the moderate path and the small pollution reductions scenario because of progress to curb climate change, said report co-author Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the U.S. Pacific Northwest National Lab.

While calling the report “a code red for humanity,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kept a sliver of hope that world leaders could still somehow prevent 1.5 degrees of warming, which he said is “perilously close.”

There is also a way for the world to stay at the 1.5-degree threshold with extreme and quick emission cuts, but even then, temperatures would rise 1.5 degrees Celsius in a decade and even beyond, before coming back down, said co-author Maisia Rojas Corrada, director of the Center for Climate and Resilience Research in Chile.

“Anything we can do to limit, to slow down, is going to pay off,” Tebaldi said. “And if we cannot get to 1.5, it’s probably going to be painful, but it’s better not to give up.”

In the report’s worst-case scenario, the world could be around 3.3 degrees Celsius (5.9 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than now by the end of the century. But that scenario looks increasingly unlikely, said report co-author and climate scientist Zeke Hausfather, climate change director of the Breakthrough Institute.

“We are a lot less likely to get lucky and end up with less warming than we thought,” Hausfather said. “At the same time, the odds of ending up in a much worse place than we expected if we do reduce our emissions are notably lower.”

A “major advance” in the understanding of how fast the world warms with each ton of carbon dioxide emitted allowed scientists to be far more precise in the scenarios in this report, Mason-Delmotte said.

The report said ultra-catastrophic disasters — commonly called “tipping points,” like ice sheet collapses and the abrupt slowdown of ocean currents — are “low likelihood” but cannot be ruled out. The much talked-about shutdown of Atlantic ocean currents, which would trigger massive weather shifts, is something that’s unlikely to happen in this century, Kopp said.

The report “provides a strong sense of urgency to do even more,” said Jane Lubchenco, the White House deputy science adviser.

In a new move, scientists emphasized how cutting airborne levels of methane — a powerful but short-lived gas that has soared to record levels — could help curb short-term warming. Lots of methane the atmosphere comes from leaks of natural gas, a major power source. Livestock also produces large amounts of the gas, a good chunk of it in cattle burps.

More than 100 countries have made informal pledges to achieve “net zero” human-caused carbon dioxide emissions sometime around mid-century, which will be a key part of climate negotiations this fall in Scotland. The report said those commitments are essential.

“It is still possible to forestall many of the most dire impacts,” Barrett said.

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Read more of AP’s climate coverage at http://www.apnews.com/Climate

___

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Britney Spears’ father says ‘no grounds’ for his removal

By Andrew Dalton | Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears’ father said in a court filing Friday that there are “no grounds whatsoever” for removing him from the conservatorship that controls her money and affairs.

James Spears “has dutifully and faithfully served as the conservator of his daughter’s estate without any blemishes on his record,” the filing said.

James Spears’ filing also says that court-appointed professional Jodi Montgomery, who oversees Britney Spears’ life decisions while her father handles her money, called him, distraught, last month and sought his help with his daughter’s mental health struggles. Montgomery and her lawyer said in response that James Spears “misrepresented and manipulated” the call to use it to his own advantage.

James Spears’ filing came in response to court papers filed a day earlier by Britney Spears’ new attorney Matthew Rosengart, which requested an emergency hearing as soon as possible to suspend him from the conservatorship.

James Spears said Rosengart “does not (and cannot) specify what the wrongdoing is” to prompt such a suspension.

James Spears stepped aside from the part of the conservatorship that controls his daughter’s life decisions in 2019, with Montgomery taking over, though her official status remains temporary.

The allegations made by Britney Spears at hearings in June and July that seem to have spurred Rosengart’s call for her father’s removal, including “serious allegations regarding forced medical treatment and therapy, improper medical care, and limitations on personal rights,” are “untested” and involve issues that have long been Montgomery’s responsibility, not his, said Jamie Spears’ filing.

James Spears says the call for his urgent removal is “ironic” considering the call he received from Montgomery on July 9.

“Ms. Montgomery sounded very distraught and expressed how concerned she was about my daughters’ recent behavior and overall mental health,” James Spears said in a personal declaration included with his court filing. “Ms. Montgomery explained that my daughter was not timely or properly taking her medications, was not listening to the recommendations of her medical team, and refused to even see some of her doctors. Ms. Montgomery said she was very worried about the direction my daughter was heading in and directly asked for my help to address these issues.”

James Spears said they discussed the possibility of hospitalizing Britney Spears on an emergency psychiatric hold.

Montgomery acknowledged, in a statement through her attorney Lauriann Wright, having concerns about Britney Spears’ behavior and mental health, but said James Spears’ stepping down would only help.

The statement said “having her father Jamie Spears continuing to serve as her Conservator instead of a neutral professional fiduciary is having a serious impact on Ms. Spears’ mental health.”

At no time during the phone call did Montgomery suggest Britney Spears qualifies for a psychiatric hold, the statement said.

Montgomery reached out to Jamie Spears because she was concerned that an investigation of Britney Spears’ allegations, which he was seeking, would be harmful to her.

“The concern that Ms. Montgomery did raise to Mr. Spears during their telephone call is that forcing Ms. Spears to take the stand to testify or to have her evaluated would move the needle in the wrong direction for her mental health,” the statement said.

Montgomery was “saddened” that the call “is now being misrepresented and manipulated” by James Spears “to gain some sort of tactical advantage in the pending proceedings to remove him.”

The fighting between those involved in the conservatorship has grown increasingly heated, and increasingly public, since Spears’ dramatic testimony at a hearing on June 23, when she told a judge, “I just want my life back.”

A hearing to address Rosengart’s petition to remove James Spears is scheduled for Sept. 29, unless the judge grants his request to hold one sooner.

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‘Staggering and depressing’: Covid-19 takes dramatic toll on U.S. life expectancy

By John Tozzi | Bloomberg

Life expectancy in the United States dropped the most in more than seven decades last year as Covid-19 sent hundreds of thousands of Americans to early deaths.

The pandemic’s disproportionate toll on communities of color also widened existing gaps in life expectancy between White and Black Americans, according to estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The tally represents an extraordinarily grim accounting of an ongoing catastrophe. The first year of the pandemic delivered a bigger blow to American life expectancy than any year of the Vietnam War, the AIDS crisis or the “deaths of despair” that nudged down life expectancies in the mid-2010s.

“It’s staggering and depressing,” said Noreen Goldman, a professor of demography and public affairs at Princeton University. “The U.S. lags behind virtually all high-income countries in life expectancy, and now it’s lagging further behind.”

The pace of Covid-19 deaths dropped sharply as vaccinations spread in the first half of 2021. But it’s unclear how long it will take for life expectancy to rebound. The U.S. has recorded a total of 609,000 Covid deaths since the pandemic began. More than 43% occurred in 2021, with almost half the year still to come.

The first year of the pandemic reduced Americans’ life expectancy at birth by 1.5 years, to 77.3 years. That erased the country’s gains since 2003. It was the largest annual decline since 1943, in the middle of World War II. Goldman said that it was the second largest decline since the 1918 influenza pandemic, which is believed to have killed some 50 million people worldwide.

The 2020 pandemic decline widened the distance between the U.S. and other wealthy democracies like France, Israel, South Korea and the U.K., according to research recently published in The BMJ journal.

“This is not a decline that happened in other high-income countries, so something went terribly wrong in the U.S. where the number of Americans who died was vastly in excess of what it needed to be,” said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University and one of the authors of the BMJ study.

Life expectancy is a statistical construct that reflects death rates in a given place and time. The CDC report describes life expectancy at birth as the “average number of years a group of infants would live if they were to experience throughout life the age-specific death rates prevailing during a period.” It isn’t meant to predict the actual lifespans that people born in that period will experience. Rather, it’s a way to compare death rates across geographies and years.

Covid accounted for three-quarters of the decline in 2020. Unintentional injuries, a category that includes record fatal drug overdoses for 2020, also dragged down the measure, as did homicides, diabetes and liver disease. The drop would have been steeper had it not been offset by fewer deaths from other factors including cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, heart disease and suicide.

All demographic groups saw declines in life expectancy in 2020. But the drops weren’t evenly distributed. Men lost more ground than women. Hispanic Americans, who have longer life expectancies than White or Black Americans, recorded the greatest losses during Covid, with life expectancy dropping three full years, double the rate of the country as a whole.

Black Americans likewise recorded a 2.9-year loss of life expectancy. That decline widened the gap between Black people and White people in the U.S., a disparity in life expectancy that had been shrinking since the 1990s. Life expectancy for White Americans declined by 1.2 years in 2020.

“There’s no biological reason for people of a certain skin color to die at higher rates of a virus,” Woolf said, noting that the disparate impact reflects structural inequities.

Skewed representation in frontline jobs like retail, meatpacking, transport and health care, combined with higher rates of chronic conditions, put people of color both at increased risk of exposure to Covid and increased risk of dying from it, Goldman said.

Unequal access to health care, language barriers, and crowded or multigenerational housing also contributed to the virus’s disproportionate toll on Hispanic and Black populations, she said.

The estimates published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reflect death certificate data reported by states and cities. The report didn’t include data on populations of Asian Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

As alarming as the one-year drop in life expectancy in 2020 is, Woolf said that more attention should focus on the decades-long gap in life expectancy that has cut short more American lives than Covid has.

In the 20th century, life expectancy generally increased in wealthy countries as science and sanitation helped conquer infectious diseases. In the U.S., troubling signs that the country wasn’t keeping up with other nations’ gains in the measure emerged in the 1990s. This divergence came to be known as the U.S. health disadvantage.

“The more important issue than the acute event we’re seeing right now in life expectancy is the long-term trend,” Woolf said. “That’s actually much scarier for the U.S. than what we’re reporting for 2020, as strange as that might sound.”

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Agriculture pesticide caused kids’ brain damage, California lawsuits say

By DON THOMPSON | The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO  — Lawsuits filed Monday in California seek potential class-action damages from Dow Chemical and its successor company over a widely used bug killer linked to brain damage in children.

Chlorpyrifos is approved for use on more than 80 crops, including oranges, berries, grapes, soybeans, almonds and walnuts, though California banned sales of the pesticide last year and spraying of it this year. Some other states, including New York, have moved to ban it.

Stuart Calwell, lead attorney in the lawsuits, argued that its effects linger in Central Valley agricultural communities contaminated by chlorpyrifos during decades of use, with measurable levels still found in his clients’ homes.

Lawyers project that at least 100,000 homes in the nation’s largest agricultural state may need to dispose of most of their belongings because they are contaminated with the pesticide.

“We have found it in the houses, we have found it in carpet, in upholstered furniture, we found it in a teddy bear, and we found it on the walls and surfaces,” Calwell said. “Then a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.”

All that needs to be cleaned up, he says, because “it’s not going away on its own.”

State records show 61 million pounds of the pesticide were applied from 1974 through 2017 in four counties where the lawsuits were filed, Calwell said.

Officials with Dow and its affiliated Corteva Inc. did not immediately respond to telephone and email requests seeking comment.

Corteva stopped producing the pesticide last year. The Delaware-based company was created after a merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont and had been the world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos. The company has said it believes the product is safe and said it stopped production because of declining sales.

Scientific studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the brains of fetuses and children. It was first used in 1965 but was banned for household use in 2001.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is weighing whether to ban the product or declare it safe, including for infants and children. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April ordered the EPA to make a decision after studying the product for more than a decade. The Trump administration had halted the rule-making process.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of people in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, though Calwell said they are a precursor to seeking class-action status. Aside from Dow-related companies, they name various farming companies they say applied the chemical near the plaintiffs’ homes.

In each case, the plaintiffs are parents suing on behalf of children who suffer from severe neurological injuries that the lawsuits blame on their exposure to the chemical while they were in the womb or when they were very young.

Aside from nearby spraying, the lawsuits say the parent, relatives or others in frequent contact with the child worked in the fields or packing plants and became contaminated with the chemical that they passed on to the child.

Calwell filed related lawsuits last fall on behalf of farmworkers who his firm said “spent years marinating in the pesticide.”

The first of those related lawsuits blames chlorpyrifos for causing autism, cognitive and intellectual disabilities in a now-teenager born in 2003.

The teen’s father worked spraying pesticides on farm fields and his mother packed what the lawsuit says was chlorpyrifos-covered produce in a facility surrounded by fields treated with the pesticide, often applied by aerial spraying.

Calwell similarly sued Monsanto for damages he alleged it caused to homes in Nitro, West Virginia, with its use of dioxin to make the defoliant known during the Vietnam War era as Agent Orange.

That case settled for $93 million, with Monsanto paying to decontaminate 4,500 homes, a fraction of those that he alleges in California will require more extensive decontamination followed by medical monitoring.

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These are the hotshot firefighters leading attacks against California wildfires. And they’re quitting

By Paul Vercammen and Christina Zdanowicz | CNN

A swirling tornado of flames reaching 40,000 feet into the sky tore through a California city in 2018, leaving a veteran hotshot firefighter horrified.

The fire tornado, which obliterated entire neighborhoods in Redding, California, during the massive Carr Fire, still haunts former hotshot supervisor Aaron Humphrey. He says that terrifying moment forever changed his outlook.

“You are in a fog and expecting death or disaster around every corner … It collectively killed my hotshot spirit,” Humphrey, 44, said of the fire tornado.

“Hump,” as fellow firefighters and friends call him, supervised hotshot crews from the US Forest Service on blister-inducing hikes to dig out fire lines, hack down trees and set blazes to fight advancing flames. Hotshot crews of 20 to 22 people spearhead fire attacks, and it’s not uncommon for them to hike 10 miles daily with fire gear packs that can weigh up to 45 pounds.

Hump rose up from a seasonal rookie firefighter to the prestigious position of supervisor of the Eldorado Hotshots. He called it the “best job in the world.”

But he quit a year ago.

After 25 years, Hump says he became just the latest mentally fried, underpaid hotshot veteran to leave, at a time when California wildfires are at their worst.


Two firefighters were killed in the 2018 Carr Fire.(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Hotshots are leaving for better pay

The pay discrepancy between federal hotshots, most of whom are employed by the US Forest Service, and firefighters for other jurisdictions is staggering.

First-year federal hotshots make $13.50 an hour, according to David Alicea, vice president of the Forest Service Union in California.

“Yes, you can make overtime, but we’re putting them through the meat grinder,” Alicea told CNN. “We’re abusing them because we are short-staffed, and they are not getting their rest periods. They get laid off when fire season is over, and they choose not to come back.”

These usually young, seasonal firefighters are some of the ones who are leaving. But all levels of firefighters are moving on, including top managers who have the most experience.

“We have experienced staffing challenges as a result of issues such as compensation, remote and hard-to-fill duty stations, a competitive employment market, and the physical and mental stress of year-round fire conditions on fire personnel,” Regina Corbin, a spokeswoman for the US Forest Service, told CNN via email.

Corbin said that Region 5, which includes California, is converting temporary seasonal positions to permanent full-time posts to improve recruitment and retention.

She says the problems are not new and apply to other federal firefighters.

Alicea agrees.

“We’re down engine crews,” he said. “I know of three or four forests that are down staffed.”

He estimates they are missing hotshots in 35 key positions this summer in California.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein pressed the US Forest Service in a May hearing on how it can stop losing hotshots to other places offering bigger salaries.

“We have 19 million acres [of California forestland] under federal jurisdiction,” Feinstein said in the May 26 hearing on Capitol Hill. “State pay is $70,000, that’s what Cal Fire pays to a state firefighter. The United States Forest Service pays $38,000.”

During the hearing, US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen confirmed the average yearly pay for a US Forest Service firefighter is $38,000.

“State, local and private entities can range from $70,000 to $88,000 a year, and their benefits are better,” she said.

On Wednesday, Senators Feinstein and Alex Padilla of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Steve Daines of Montana wrote a letter proposing a plan to raise federal firefighter pay. They are asking the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government to include it in the 2022 funding bill, according to the letter.

Fires are getting fiercer

Experts fear another terrible wildfire season — possibly worse than 2020, the most active fire season that California has ever recorded. The prolonged drought in the West is also fueling the fires, just one of the ways climate change is compounding the crisis.

The recent fires are part of a larger trend in California.

The seven largest wildfires in state history happened within the last four years, according to Cal Fire. The Carr Fire, which changed Hump’s perspective on his work, ranked as the 12th largest fire in state history.

The increase in California’s wildfire intensity and acres burned can only be explained by factoring in climate change, according to a recent analysis of several peer-reviewed studies. Land management plays a role in the trend, experts say, but it alone cannot explain why the state’s fires have become so much more destructive.

On top of fiercer fires, an unrelenting drought and another big fire season on the horizon, California is losing hotshots, the rock star firefighters with the track records to successfully fight these mega blazes.

“I needed to be home with my family,” Hump told CNN. “The level of stress I was bringing home (from massive fires) — I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.”

Hump, a married father with three children — ages 12, 10 and 8 — now works for Pacific Gas and Electric, as a lead on the utility’s safety infrastructure protection team.

Hump says he’s paid at least $40,000 more annually than what he made before as a hotshot supervisor. The money comes with peace of mind, as he now attends all of his children’s events, even coaching some flag football.

Not enough firefighters to form hotshot crews

There are hotshot shortages across the country, but California hotshots are getting hit harder, according to Jonathan Miller, chairman of the National Forest Service Firefighters Union.

“We’ve seen some attrition across the federal crews and engines, but nothing like the shortages in California,” Miller said.

Alicea says 15 California Interagency Hotshot Crews don’t have enough members to activate as a full firefighting unit. CNN obtained a CIHC document that confirms that number.

When a hotshot crew isn’t big enough, it’s harder to fight fires, Hump says. Smaller crews can’t split up into small squads or help teams with special missions as effectively.

Members with particular qualifications are required to be called a hotshot crew, which were nicknamed for fighting the hottest fires. These crews are trained to tackle “strategic and tactical wildfire assignments,” according to the US Forest Service website.

Two crews, Modoc and Horseshoe Meadow, are operating as even lesser-staffed firefighting modules.

The Eldorado Hotshots may soon lose another seasoned manager, captain D.J. McIlhargie.

“I have five irons in the fire right now,” McIlhargie told CNN. “I’m looking for something that will work for my family more. And my wife knows that I’m tired of waiting for the forest service to give me a commensurate salary to what other departments pay.”

The father of two boys, 7 and 10, McIlhargie lives an hour outside Sacramento. He described feeling “wiped out” and “frustrated” by battling the recent streak of super fires.

McIlhargie, 39, says there are just not enough firefighters to take on massive blazes such as the ones that ravaged Northern California last year.

He says the Eldorado Hotshots spent a month trying to stop the largest wildfire in California history, the August Complex fire, which scorched more than 1 million acres.

The years in fire battle wear down the hotshots from helmet to boots, McIlhargie says.

“My knees ache every day,” he said. “My rotator cuffs are ratchety and clicky from swinging tools and carrying cans (used for backfire fuel) and carrying saws and carrying your (back) pack.”

“Your range of movement in your hips starts to go,” McIlhargie said.

More homes will burn without enough hotshots

If vacant hotshot positions don’t get filled, the firefighters CNN interviewed said more homes will burn.

“It used to be for us hotshots we are up in the mountains, the back country fighting these fires,” McIlhargie said. “Now it seems that every single fire has some element of wild land fire meets urban interface.”

Maeve Juarez spent a year as a Redding Hotshot in 2004.

The 41-year-old mother of two left her US government job as a battalion chief in the Los Padres National Forest four years ago.

“I left because I took a higher paying job with the Montecito Fire Department that allowed me to spend more time with my kids, and it’s less stress,” she said.

Juarez says the pay is significantly higher in her new role as wildfire specialist in Montecito.

Because of her experience, Juarez serves as an operations section chief on major fires, a sort of general directing fire troops from many agencies.

Juarez says losing hotshots, especially supervisors, to other jobs is hindering California’s effort to fight mega fires.

“These hotshot supes know the terrain, what type of brush is burning, how it burned in an area in the past,” Juarez said. “They are a big part of our decision making, strategy and tactics on fighting fires.”

She added: “When a veteran superintendent leaves, we lose that experience, and they are our backbone.”

Hump recalls his hotshot decades, visions of firefights, falling trees, crew members seriously burned and hotshots dying. He helped set up a memorial service in Arizona for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed when a fire burned over them eight years ago.

“It’s this feeling of doom, that every fire you go to you are going to lose someone you care about,” Hump said. “It’s terrifying. It’s hard to communicate with your family because you don’t want to scare them. You just hug them and never want to leave.”

Leaving behind the doom of that deadly fire tornado in 2018, Hump is looking ahead to this Fourth of July do something he’s never done before.

“I plan on teaching my kids to fish,” he said. “I’ve never had the time.”

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