15:40 GMT +319 December 2018
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    The Critical Hour

    As the Death Toll Rises, What's Fueling California's Wildfires

    The Critical Hour
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    Wilmer Leon
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    On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Jessica Gardetto, spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho; and Kendra Atleework, author and freelance writer.

    The most destructive fire in California history is also the deadliest. The so-called "Camp Fire," north of Sacramento, and the "Woolsey Fire," near Los Angeles, are keeping more than 8,000 firefighters very busy. Forty-four people are confirmed dead in the fires that broke out last Thursday. The "Camp Fire" alone is blamed for 42 deaths, and that number is expected to rise. More than 200 people remain unaccounted for.

    The fire has destroyed more than 7,000 structures. For the past 7 to 10 years, California has found itself dealing with more fires with greater intensities. What's going on here? As I understand this, some 60 percent of California forests are on or under federal or private management? Is that correct? Human technology is responsible for more loss from fire than any other cause. But reducing fire's impact will require changes to how people live, not just to the infrastructure that lets them do so.

    The Florida secretary of state announced Saturday afternoon that the razor-thin races for governor, senator and some state positions will be reviewed in a series of recounts which were triggered because the margins in these contests are under.5 percent. According to unofficial results filed by the counties, Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by more than 12,500 votes, or about.15% percent. The spread in the governor's race is larger, with Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by nearly 34,000 votes, for a lead of.41 percent. In Georgia, a judge says the state must delay in naming the governor's race winner. A federal judge has ordered Georgia take steps to protect provisional ballots and to wait until Friday to certify the results of the midterm elections, including the unsettled race for governor.

    In a ruling late Monday, US District Judge Amy Totenberg ordered the secretary of state's office to establish and publicize a hotline or website where voters can check whether their provisional ballots were counted, and if not, the reason why. With all of this chatter of alleged Russian hacking or attempted hacking into our election in 2016, nothing of significance seems to have been done. Why not?

    The US Supreme Court will take up the issue of redistricting in Virginia, agreeing to hear an appeal filed by Republican legislators after a lower court's ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts must be redrawn to correct racial gerrymandering. Marc E. Elias, an election lawyer representing those who challenged the design of the districts, noted in a tweet: "This is the 3rd time SCOTUS will hear cases related to VA's unconstitutional gerrymander. We have prevailed in each of the first two and expect to again here. What is most important is that the voters of VA have constitutional maps in time for the 2019 state house elections." At stake is control of Virginia's House of Delegates. The GOP barely held onto its majority last year in the 100-seat chamber after 15 Democrats flipped seats in elections. One Republican prevailed in a random tiebreaker, leaving the GOP with a 51-49 edge.

    In the latest development in the Mueller probe, Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi expects to be indicted. Corsi, a conservative conspiracy theorist, said on his YouTube show that negotiations fell apart with special counsel Robert Mueller's team, and he expects in the coming days to be charged with making false statements. "I'm going to be indicted," Corsi said on his show. "That's what we were told. Everyone should know that, and I'm anticipating it." Is Mueller trying to get ahead of the sword of Damocles, or at least the ax, from Matt Whitaker? So, it was my understanding that the initial focus of the probe was national security.

    GUESTS:

    Jessica Gardetto — Spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

    Kendra Atleework — Writer whose work has appeared in Best American Essays 2015. She's on the board of directors of the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers. Her forthcoming memoir maps the convergence of family, place and history.

    Dr. Emmitt Y. Riley III — Political scientist and assistant professor of Africana Studies at DePauw University.

    Dr. Ajamu Baraka — American political activist and former Green Party nominee for vice president of the United States in the 2016 election.

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    Tags:
    Georgia Politics, wildfires, US Midterms 2018, Trump administration, California
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