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California's record fire season: "Well over 4 million acres" burned

More than 8,200 wildfires have burned "well over 4 million acres" in California this year, killing 31 people and destroying 8,450-plus structures, Cal Fire said Sunday.

Why it matters: Cal Fire confirmed on Sept. 7 that nearly 2.2 million acres had burned, surpassing the previous record set in 2018. The amount of land charred now is bigger in size than Connecticut and more than double that which burned in 2018, when 1,975,086 acres were razed.


Since CAL FIRE officially began recording state responsibility fire figures in 1933, all large fire years have remained well below the 4 million acre mark for acreage burned, until now. This year is far from over and fire potential remains high. Please be cautious outdoors. pic.twitter.com/IkwjSqEeVo

— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) October 4, 2020

Of note: 2018 remains the deadliest year for wildfires, with 85 people losing their lives in blazes.

The big picture: The wildfires have been particularly bad in recent days in California's wine country, where the Glass Fire that started late last month has burned across 63,885 acres and was at 17% containment as of Sunday.

What to expect: More seasonal temperatures are expected by the end of the week, "with a chance of some precipitation in the most northern part of the State," Cal Fire said in a statement.

  • "Expect locally gusty winds over the next few days on the west edge of the Sacramento Valley, the North and East Bay, and Southern California mountain ranges," Cal Fire said.
"A Fire Weather Warning is in effect for very Northeastern California afternoon from 2pm to 8pm for strong, gusty winds with low humidity in the Tulelake Basin region."

Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.

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The murder hornets are here

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.

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Biden is highest-spending political candidate on TV ads

After spending an additional $45.2 million on political ads this week, former Vice President Joe Biden has become the highest-spending political candidate on TV ads ever, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

By the numbers: In total, the Biden campaign has spent $582.7 million on TV ads between 2019 and 2020, officially surpassing Michael Bloomberg's record spend of roughly $582 million. Biden's spend includes his primary and general election advertising.

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SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

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Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.
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America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19

From high levels of obesity and opioid addiction to inequities in access to care, America's pre-existing conditionsmake the country an easy target for COVID-19, as well as future pandemics that could cripple the United States for decades to come.

Why it matters: One of the best ways the country could prepare for future threats — and boost its economy — is to improve Americans' overall health.

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Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

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Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

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