california | KALW


Jacob Welsh/PNW2/Pacific Southwest Forest Service / Flickr Creative Commons


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is better known as Cal Fire. This year, it has fully extended its resources to deal with an unprecedented fire season. It has also tapped neighboring states and other partners for extra help fighting fires. 


So that got us wondering: what are the big numbers behind the fires? 


Andrea Booher / FEMA

As of Thursday, there are dozens of active fires in the Bay Area. But with a pandemic raging, there’s also a shortage of one particular group of firefighters: inmate firefighters.

Wayne Hsieh, Flickr

The $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, is set to expire this week.

David Monniaux / Wikimedia Commons


California lawmakers returned to work today after an extended summer recess. Officials were originally scheduled to resume the session on July 13 but postponed their return due to the pandemic.

Daniel Arauz / Flickr Creative Commons

California has surpassed New York for the most coronavirus cases in the country, reporting more than 409,000 infections after setting a record on Tuesday for the state's most confirmed new cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Join us tomorrow (this Saturday) 3 pm (PDT) on KALW’s “Folk Music & Beyond” for a tribute to California-based singer-songwriter Mary McCaslin.  We’ll revisit musical highlights from her career and feature an interview with Mary discussing her music.  Rolling Stone said about her music "McCaslin's unorthodox guitar tunings create unusual, ethereal melodies of striking beauty. Combined with her clear, delicately affecting vocals, the effects are magical ….”

Health Officers Sound Alarm As California Economy Reopens

Jun 24, 2020
Russ Allison Loar / Flickr / Creative Commons

Health officials in a San Francisco Bay Area county that was among the most aggressive in the nation in shutting down its economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus are warning of “worrisome” growing infections as California on Tuesday reported its highest daily infection rate to date and hospitalizations from the virus increase.

Vandals And Looters Cause Damage Throughout California

Jun 1, 2020
Thomas Hawk / Flickr / Creative Commons


Cities across California declared curfews, yesterday, to head off more violence. That’s after unruly demonstrators at earlier protests burned police cars, broke into stores and skirmished with officers.

JJG52/Creative Commons

Between 10 and 30 percent of California’s essential workers are undocumented. But because of immigration status, they don’t qualify for some of the social benefits that other workers are relying on through this pandemic. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Wikimedia Commons

  On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we're discussing a new study from Columbia University about an emerging climate-driven megadrought in the Western US.

AP Photo/Felipe Dana

On this edition of Your Call’s media roundtable, we're discussing the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain, where the virus has claimed more than 14,000 lives. M

ore than 12,000 healthcare workers have been infected and more than 900,00 people have lost their jobs.


The California Judicial Council met yesterday and set standards for how courts should operate during the COVID19 emergency.


Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Late Monday night, the California Legislature voted to suspend its work until April 13th due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to Alex Vassar, an unofficial legislative historian at the California State Library, this is the first such closure in 158 years.

It’s a new year and that means new laws are on the books in California. And they are varied, dealing with everything from rent control, to maternity health, from police use of force, to online privacy.

As California Thins Forests To Limit Fire Risk, Some Resist

Dec 13, 2019
Bob White / Flickr / Creative Commons

Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco.

Buzz Andersen / Flicker Creative Commons

Pacific Gas & Electric began restoring power Thursday to some of the 120,000 people it intentionally blacked out to ease the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

Fire Crews Take Advantage Of Calmer Weather In California

Nov 1, 2019
J.M. Eddins Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Calmer weather allowed crews to increase containment of wildfires after a three-week siege of gusts fanned blazes across California and led utilities to cut power to prevent winds from blowing branches into electric lines and igniting an inferno.

Licensed through Creative Commons

The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

One Planet: The history of water in California

Sep 30, 2019

  On the next Your Call’s One Planet Series, we'll rebrodacast our conversation with journalist Mark Arax about his new book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Trump campaign and Republican Party sued California on Tuesday over a new law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to run in the state's primary, legislation that was aimed at prying loose President Donald Trump's returns.

California Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond took office early this year and quickly announced a top goal: closing the achievement gap for students of color. Hear him speak about his vision and why he thinks he can succeed where others have failed.

"U.S. Life Expectancy Falls as Opioid Deaths Rise" by Clear Sky Treatment Centers, used under CC license, resized and cropped

Host Joseph Pace and guests explore the “Wild West” of California’s drug rehabilitation industry.

One Planet: How can we save monarch butterflies?

Jan 27, 2019



On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’ll discuss the alarming decline in the number of monarch butterflies in California. According to a recent report by the Xerces Society, the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in California has declined by more than 85 percent from 2017.

"A Conversation with California Governor Jerry Brown", by German Marshall Fund, used under CC license/ resized and cropped

Host Joseph Pace and guests discuss Jerry Brown's legacy as the longest serving governor of California.

Chemicals without borders: Unearthing the Green Revolution

Dec 5, 2018


Unearthing the Green Revolution, Part III: California's industrial approach to agriculture has long served as a model for government officials in Punjab, India, which dramatically increased crop yields decades ago as part of the high-tech, chemically supplemented Green Revolution. Yet the cost for Punjabi farmers has been a legacy of pesticide reliance, debt, and the hopes for a better life in other countries. 

Gurdeep Singh Dhaliwal


Unearthing the Green Revolution, Part IIThe story of how agriculture became agribusiness in California and around the world begins in Punjab, India, where the Green Revolution didn't just change how farmers work the land; it changed how they live. 

Gurdeep Singh Dhaliwal

Unearthing the Green Revolution, Part I: California's fertile Central Valley is home to a sizable community of farmers from Punjab in India, a region also famous for its rich cropland. Why they came to the United States is a story as layered and complex as the politics and science of the crops they cultivate. 

99% Invisible: The Blazer Experiment

Nov 9, 2018

In 1968, Menlo County, California hired a new Police Chief.  His name was Victor Cizanckas.  With tensions running high between the police and the community, Chief Cizanckas decided to institute a number of new reforms that would alleviate those tensions.  One of those changes was trading in the old, pseudo-military, dark blue police uniform for a less intimidating and aggressive look: slacks, a dress shirt and tie, and blazer ... 

"one-forty/three-sixty-five" by CC Flickr User Laura LaRose


The votes are in — or, most of them anyway, with some mailed-in ballots yet to be counted. And California voters have weighed in on state and local propositions as well as many elected offices.

Lisa Morehouse

“Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions, and more!”