AP News in Brief: 10-05-20

  • In this Sept. 9, 2020, file image taken with a slow shutter speed, embers light up a hillside behind the Bidwell Bar Bridge as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, Calif. Deadly wildfires in California have burned more than 4 million acres this year — more than double the previous record for the most land burned in a single year in the state. California fire officials said the state hit the astonishing milestone Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 with about two months remaining in the fire season. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

California wildfires surpass 4 million acres

SAN FRANCISCO — In a year that has already brought apocalyptic skies and smothering smoke to the West Coast, California set a grim new record Sunday when officials announced that the wildfires of 2020 have now scorched a record 4 million acres — in a fire season that is far from over.

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The unprecedented figure — an area larger than the state of Connecticut — is more than double the previous record for the most land burned in a single year in California.

“The 4 million mark is unfathomable. It boggles the mind, and it takes your breath away,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. “And that number will grow.”

So far, in this year’s historic fire season, more than 8,200 California wildfires have killed 31 people and scorched “well over 4 million acres in California” or 6,250 square miles, Cal Fire said Sunday in a statement. The blazes have destroyed more than 8,400 buildings.

The astonishing figure is more than double the 2018 record of 1.67 million burned acres in California. All large fire years since Cal Fire started recording figures in 1933 have remained well below the 4 million mark — “until now,” the agency said Sunday in a Tweet.

“This year is far from over and fire potential remains high. Please be cautious outdoors.”

Designer Kenzo Takada dies from coronavirus

PARIS — Kenzo Takada, the iconic French-Japanese fashion designer famed for his jungle-infused designs and free-spirited aesthetic that channeled global travel, has died. He was 81.

The family said in a statement to French media Sunday that Takada died from complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. A public relations officer for Kenzo’s brand confirmed that Takada died, but didn’t give a cause of death.

“It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder,” the fashion house said in a statement. “For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry — always infusing creativity and color into the world.”

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Takada’s death came at the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, whose nine-day calendar is undertaking an unusual fashion season for spring-summer 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was only days ago that the Kenzo fashion house unveiled its bee-themed collection here.

Though Takada had been retired from his house since 1999 to pursue a career in art, Kenzo remains one of the most respected fixtures of high Paris fashion. Since 1993, the Kenzo brand has been owned by the French luxury goods company LVMH.

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