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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 2324)

Virginia Frosé & Other Frozen Wine Drinks To Cool Off This Summer

It’s summertime in Virginia, with temperatures soaring into the 90s and the signature Southern humidity officially here to stay. While we love soaking up that Virginia sunshine, there’s one thing you definitely need in-hand this summer to keep cool: wine slushies!

From Insta-worthy frosé to refreshing frozen wine, here are some of our favorite icy delights to try this summer. Go ahead, treat yourself!

Frosé at Blue Bee Cider | Richmond

Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first urban cidery, located in the historic Scott’s Addition district of Richmond. Blue Bee’s ciders are made with rare and heirloom Virginia apples prized for their tannin, acidity, and flavor. Added bonus? They serve frosty, delicious frosé on the reg during the summer months. Blue Bee’s frosé’s main ingredient is frozen Mill Race Bramble, which was Virginia’s first berry-infused cider when it debuted in 2013. Mill Race Bramble features Virginia raspberries and blackberries from Agriberry Farm. To make these drinks extra festive, the folks at Blue Bee will occasionally switch up the presentation and include berry candy sticks or sour candy ribbons with the drink! Blue Bee is also pet-friendly– it was voted the Most Dog Friendly Patio by STYLE Weekly– so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cold beverage with your furry friend.

Cider Freeze Pops at Coyote Hole Ciderworks | Mineral

There are few things that make us more nostalgic for childhood than snacking on an ice cold Freeze Pop. This summer, upgrade your experience with an adult twist on Freeze Pops: Frozen Hard Cider Freeze Pops from Coyote Hole Ciderworks in Mineral. These yummy frozen treats are made with award-winning Sangria, a cider and rosé wine blend with cranberry and mangos frozen into the pop. They also offer a frozen version of their famous Ciderita — a margarita cider blend. Olé! 

Wine Slushies at Abingdon Vineyards | Abingdon<img data-attachment-id="56194" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/07/frose/abingdon-vineyards-slushees/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/22140229/Abingdon-Vineyards-slushees.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,1245" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Abingdon Vineyards wine slushees" data-image-description="

Abingdon Vineyards wine slushees

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Photo Credit: Abingdon Vineyards

Abingdon Vineyards creates wine slushies that are perfect for hot summer days on the patio. While the winery offers a variety of dry and semi-dry wines on their regular tasting menu, the slushies are made with sweet wines, akin to a frozen sangria. All of the wine varietals are grown on the winery’s 12 acres, located along the South Holston River. The red wine slushies are made with chambourcin and a mix of seasonal fruit juices, while the white wine slushie is a blend of Appalachian Sunset rosé and the 2017 Riesling. Three cheers for this sweet summery treat!

Lushies at Cave Ridge Vineyard | Jackson<img data-attachment-id="56197" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/07/frose/lushie_sangria1/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/22140523/Lushie_Sangria1.jpg" data-orig-size="1299,1249" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="cave ridge vineyards lushie sangria wine frose" data-image-description="

cave ridge vineyards lushie sangria wine frose

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Photo Credit: Elena M. Lycas from Cave Ridge Vineyard

Cave Ridge Vineyard, located about 30 miles from Harrisonburg, is serving “Lushies” this summer. Lushies are icy cold and refreshing on a hot day or a summer evening.  The red is made with Cave Ridge Chambourcin and the white is made with Traminette. These are delicious off-dry wines on their own, so freezing them up makes them even more refreshing. This beautiful winery overlooks the Shenandoah Valley, and is open until 7pm everyday, making it a fabulous destination to catch a Virginia summer sunset. 

Wine Slushies at The Purple WOLF Vineyard | Harrisonburg

This summer The Purple WOLF Vineyard in Harrisonburg is pouring wine slushies in the Tasting Room. Guests can choose from a white wine, red wine, or a red and white swirled slushie. These frozen wine treats are made using their unique lavender wine. We recommend trying the Dragonfly, their signature white blend made with Traminette and Chardonnay. It’s a dynamic, sweet-yet-spicy flavor that is perfect for summertime. Pardon My Purple, a lavender-infused Chamborcin, is another Farm Favorite. Go try a glass today! 

Frappe-Vino Wine Slushies at Narmada Winery | Amissville<img data-attachment-id="56199" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/07/frose/narmadawineryandvineyard/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/22140809/%40narmadawineryandvineyard.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,1251" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"4.4","credit":"mdancisin","camera":"COOLPIX S800c","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1437925054","copyright":"2015","focal_length":"13.6","iso":"125","shutter_speed":"0.002","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="frozen wine slushies at narmada winery and vineyard" data-image-description="

frozen wine slushies at narmada winery and vineyard

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While trendy Tie-Dye frapps may be going viral this summer, we bet you’ll enjoy these boozy wine slushies even more! Narmada Winery offers Frappe Vino Wine Slushies on weekends and holidays throughout the summer and early fall. The white slushie is made with Mom, a signature white wine, and tastes of ripe pineapple. The red slushie is made with Chambourcin Nouveau, which lends a bit of tartness to the sweet, frosty drink. With live music every weekend and a stunning winery experience, this is sure to be one of your new favorites this summer.

Wine Slushies at Quattro Goombas | Aldie

Quattro Goombas Winery in Aldie is all about a passion for friendship, family, celebration and tradition (“Quatro Goombas” means “four close friends” in Italian, after all!) We can think of no better tradition this summer than to raise a slushy glass of vino to good friends and family. Nestled in beautiful Loudoun County, Quattro Goombas is a great destination to enjoy wine slushies in addition to their vast selection of hand-crafted, old-world style wines that blend perfectly with the charm, beauty, and grace of this lovely winery. Looking to pair your slushy with something savory? Quattro, the Pizza Shop, is a can’t-miss addition to your winery experience. Quattro’s square-cut, Sicilian-style pizza is famously delicious, with its light and airy crust and hand-made toppings. Buon appetito, goombas! 

Frappe Vino at James River Cellars Winery | Richmond

Looking for more frappe vino, wine lovers? Located just 10 minutes outside the City of Richmond, James River Cellars Winery is the perfect destination on a hot summer afternoon. A blend of urban convenience and quaint rural appeal, James River Cellars aims to create a Virginia wine experience that is a refreshing change from the ordinary. The tasting room also offers wine slushies or “frappe vino,” in addition to the many different wines they have on hand to sip and taste. Open seven days a week, this is a must-see stop on your wine slushie tour!

Tell us, what is your favorite Virginia beverage to sip on a hot summer day? 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Brexit Under Boris Johnson: Deal or No Deal?

LONDON — The ascension of a new prime minister in Britain has raised both fears and hopes (depending on the audience) that the country might leave the European Union cold turkey — no trade agreement in place, no political pact, not even a framework for further talks.

Three times this year, Parliament emphatically rejected the withdrawal deal that Theresa May negotiated with Brussels as prime minister, ultimately forcing her to step down.

She had flirted with the idea of a “no-deal” Brexit, but that may have been no more than a negotiating stance. When her back was to the wall, she agreed twice to delay the country’s departure, most recently to Oct. 31, to allow time for reaching an agreement.

Her designated successor, Boris Johnson, insists that while he intends to hammer out a better agreement, Britain will leave the union by that deadline, even if that means exiting without a deal.

[Read about the vote that put Boris Johnson in position to become the next prime minister of Britain.]

There are far more questions than answers available, but this is what we know.

Relations among nations are exceedingly complex, with pacts on migration, customs checks, tariffs and product standards, among many things. Belonging to the European Union radically simplifies that: no trade or migration barriers between member countries, no differences in product rules, and unified trade pacts with the rest of the world.

In the absence of that system, Mrs. May and the bloc negotiated a withdrawal agreement that was almost 600 pages long, just to get through the next two years, until more permanent arrangements could be reached.

Leaving abruptly without a deal would mean new customs and tariff barriers, and would put Britain under World Trade Organization trading rules, which economists say are less advantageous and do not fill in all of the relevant blanks.

Various policies and systems would have to be built from scratch while long-term agreements are negotiated with the European Union, the United States and every other trading partner, which experts say would take years.

One economic authority after another has reported that a sudden no-deal Brexit would do deep, lasting harm to Britain. Even a careful, orderly departure like the one proposed by Mrs. May would depress economic growth compared with staying in the European Union, they contend.

Similar conclusions have been published by the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of England, the British Treasury and, most recently, Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility, among others.

In fact, since voters approved Brexit three years ago, the mere prospect of it has harmed the British economy, economists and business executives say, as it prods companies, investors and job-seekers to go elsewhere.

Experts warn that crashing out of the bloc without a plan could bring travel disruptions and shortages of food, medicine and other goods.

But many ardent Brexiteers, including Mr. Johnson, insist that such fears are overblown, or just wrong. They contend that being free to negotiate its own trade deals, set its own immigration policies and stop paying into the European Union will benefit Britain in the long run. Some even wave off predictions of short-term pain.

“It is total nonsense,” Mr. Johnson said this month. “I prophesy very confidently that we will have a successful Brexit, the planes will fly, there will be clean drinking water and there will be whey for the Mars bars.”

Parliament opposes a no-deal exit. In fact, that may be the only clear statement on Brexit that this Parliament has been able to make.

On March 13, the House of Commons took up a motion that Britain should not leave without a deal on March 29, which was then the deadline for withdrawal from the union. Over the government’s vehement opposition, lawmakers amended that to oppose a no-deal Brexit at any time, under any circumstances, and then passed the amended motion, 321 to 278.

The motion was nonbinding, but it was an embarrassment — one of a long series related to Brexit — for Mrs. May. It was widely believed that without the government’s pressure, the vote would have been more lopsided.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158297145_ac64f0a1-9cdc-4902-aa43-2ba012a0e0ea-articleLarge Brexit Under Boris Johnson: Deal or No Deal? May, Theresa M Johnson, Boris International Trade and World Market Immigration and Emigration House of Commons (Great Britain) Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Customs (Tariff) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Boris Johnson insists that Britain will leave the European Union, one way or another, on Oct. 31.CreditTolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Johnson wants to strike an agreement of his own with Brussels by Oct. 31 — specifically, one without the controversial Irish border provisions in Mrs. May’s deal — but that may not be possible.

European Union leaders have said repeatedly that they will not reopen negotiations and that the deal they reached with Mrs. May is the only one they will consider.

Even if the bloc were bluffing, it is not clear that there would be time to draft a new pact by the deadline. The deal on the table was the product of almost two years’ negotiations.

But if Mr. Johnson is serious about leaving without a deal, all he would have to do is nothing. As things stand, the country will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 whether there is any agreement in place or no, under current British law.

Possibly. Parliament can change the law and instruct the prime minister to seek another extension.

There is debate about how binding that instruction would be on the prime minister, but it would not commit the European Union to an extension. All 28 heads of government would have to agree to push back the deadline, and some of them were reluctant the last time.

There has been much talk about the possibility that Mr. Johnson could prorogue, or suspend, Parliament as the deadline approaches, to prevent lawmakers from directing him to request an extension.

Prime ministers often suspend Parliament, simply to take a month or two off. Doing it requires the assent of the monarch, which in modern times has always been given.

But to suspend Parliament as a political tactic, and to involve Queen Elizabeth II in the dispute, would be unusual and controversial, and could anger some of Mr. Johnson’s fellow Conservatives. The party’s hold on power is tenuous, and if even a few of its lawmakers joined in a vote of no confidence, they could topple him.

On Thursday, the House of Commons voted, 315, to 274, to make it more difficult to prorogue Parliament. The vote, on a measure that still needs final approval, would require that the house meet before the end of October — at which point, presumably, lawmakers could vote to block a no-deal Brexit.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William

Temperature rising? No worries. Just add water!

Situated along both the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers, Prince William, VA offers a wide variety of recreational water activities for everyone to enjoy. Looking to cool off poolside, float along a lazy river, run amuck through splash pads or paddle through open waters? You’ll find all these and more in DC’s Countryside.

WATERPARKS

1) Splashdown Waterpark –  7500 Ben Lomond Park Dr. Manassas, VA (703) 792-8200

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Zoom down one of the four-story-tall slides on Pipeline Tower , prepare for launch down the Cannonball Slide or challenge a friend to a race down the Twister Slides. Prefer to relax while soaking up the sun? Splashdown Waterpark has a 770-foot-long Lazy River for unwinding. Bubblers, fountains and a wading area are perfect for young visitors. Enjoy a variety of food from the onsite eateries at one of the picnic pavilions. Splashdown Waterpark has something for everyone.

2) Waterworks Waterpark – Andrew Leitch Park, 5301 Dale Blvd. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8415

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Have fun in the sun all day at Waterworks Waterpark! Blast down the Enclosed Speed Slide , twist and turn your way through the Circular Open Slide or test out your balancing skills on the 3 J ungle Walk Features. The new Children’s Play Structure and Splash Pad are sure to keep the fun going for the little one. Enjoy a yummy snack from the Snack Bar beneath the shaded pavilion. Thousands of laughs and tons of memories are sure to be made at Waterworks Waterpark.

OUTDOOR POOLS

1) Veterans Park – Pool & Waterslide –  14300 Veterans Dr. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8794

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The 50-meter outdoor pool at Veterans Park features 2 two-story slides, graduated entry with water features for the little ones, a bathhouse and concessions nearby.

2) Hammil Mill Pool – 1721 Carter Ln. Woodbridge, VA (703) 491-1074

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Fun water features and various small water slides can keep little ones entertained for hours at Hammil Mill Pool.

3) Birchdale Pool –  14730 Birchdale Ave Dale City, VA (703) 670-5178

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Birchdale pool features a full-service concessions area, a diving board and a gated baby pool for little swimmers.

4) Graham Park Pool – 3511 Graham Park Rd. Triangle, VA (703) 221-7550

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Graham Park is a charming outdoor pool featuring zero-depth entry, water spray and dumping water bucket features.

SPLASH PADS

1) The Interactive Splash Fountain at Virginia Gateway – 7524 Iron Bar Lane Gainesville, VA

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Virginia Gateway’s interactive splash fountain is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.

2) The Splash Pad at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center – 14900 Potomac Town Place Woodbridge, VA

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Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center’s splash pad is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.

WATER ADVENTURES

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Kayak along the Occoquan River, fish off the sandy shores of Leesylvania State Park or learn to sail on the Potomac. Prince William’s waterfront playground provides a variety of recreational activities for you to explore.

WATER EVENTS

Fish Seining on the Potomac @Leesylvania State ParkJune 29, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Watch a park ranger catch different kinds of fish using one of the oldest primitive fishing methods. Come for a chance to learn…

Pond Play! at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Frogs, turtles, and fish, oh my! Explore the animals that live in our pond. A ranger will use nets to catch animals…

Canoe Tour @Leesylvania – June 30, 2019 – August 11, 2019

Our canoe tours are designed to help those that are new to canoeing to learn the basics of paddling…

Occoquan Sunset Paddling Tour @ Penguin Paddling – July 7, 2019 – September 1, 2019

Occoquan Sunset Penguin Paddling Tour This guided trip is approximately two hours in duration…

NEABSCO CREEK PADDLE TOUR @ Penguin PaddlingJune 30, 2019 – September 22, 2019

Our Neabsco tour is a gem. Wildlife is abundant. Eagles, beavers, herons and all sorts of waterfowl can be seen on this tour…

Kids Fishing Tournament at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – September 7, 2019

Join our kids fishing tournament and see what you can catch. Ages 2-15 are welcome…

Potomac River Blockade Tour @ Leesylvania State Park & Prince William Historic Preservation – September 21, 2019 – October 19, 2019

Sponsored by the Prince William Historic Preservation. Cruise along the Potomac River shoreline and view sites…

Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Prince William County

Westlake Legal Group Prince-William-Logo Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William Story Ideas

Come experience DC’s Countryside for an unrivaled getaway so close to the nation’s capital. Explore two National Parks and picturesque hiking trails near the Potomac River and Bull Run Mountains for a much-needed breath of fresh air. Learn American history at the site of the 1st and 2nd Battles of Bull Run / Manassas or experience living history inside a makeshift Civil War hospital. Shop ’til you drop at the largest outlet mall in Virginia or in a historic downtown. No matter the getaway you seek – you are overdue to make a journey to stay and play in Prince William, Virginia.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas

Get out and explore the natural beauty of Virginia. Outdoor recreation activities range widely from the beaches to the mountains in all four seasons. From riverboat cruises and wildlife safaris to whitewater rafting and mountain biking, there is something for everyone in Virginia’s great outdoors.

Abingdon Does the Outdoors

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon is known for its artsy vibe, historic charm and close proximity to some of the most spectacular outdoor recreation in the state. Find world-class hiking and biking along the Virginia Creeper Trail and Appalachian Trail. Journey through the Jefferson National Forest, fish the trout filled lake at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and more. See full itinerary.

Chesapeake: An Outdoor Lovers’ Paradise 
Westlake Legal Group Dismal-Swamp Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Chesapeake is an outdoor lovers’ paradise with plenty of activities for those who need to escape from life’s stresses. It is a sanctuary for birds and birdwatchers, home to more than 200 species including Bald Eagles, Hawks, Song Sparrows, and more and a great place for fishing or strolling at Elizabeth River Park. See full itinerary.

An Outdoor Adventure in Staunton

Nestled between Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forests lies the mountain-fringed town of Staunton. Discover your passion for the outdoors while taking in spectacular waterfalls, beautiful scenic overlooks and mountain views, all while enjoying the local food, brews and culture of the area. See full itinerary.

Byways, Barns, & BarbequeWestlake Legal Group Tazewell Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Tazewell County nurtures a special position in the majestic Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Take a ride on the Big Walker Scenic Mountain Byway and climb the lookout tower for a breathtaking mountain view. Visit “God’s Thumbprint’ or see the world’s largest collection of rare and endangered fresh water species at the Clinch River Basin. See full itinerary.

Outdoor & Eco-Adventure

Virginia Beach’s coastal terrain is perfect for all types of exploration. Outdoor and eco-adventure enthusiasts can take part in exciting dolphin cruises, wildlife safaris, oceanfront bike rides and much more. Enjoy the scenic view where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meets, take surf lessons or challenge yourself on a ropes course. See full itinerary.

By the Sea, By the Bay, By the Stars

Westlake Legal Group Assateague-Island Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague Island is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, biking, miles of pristine beaches, and eco-tours. Dine in waterfront restaurants or pack a picnic basket to savor on the sand. See full itinerary.

Here … Everyone is the Outdoors Type

With riverboat cruises, excellent fishing, beaches and canoeing opportunities and national, state and local parks, Prince William is an outdoor lover’s destination within a close proximity to Washington DC. The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 200 species of birds and 65 species of butterflies. Enjoy excellent fishing at Leesylvania State Park and much more. See full itinerary.

Is “Adventure” Your Middle Name?

Westlake Legal Group Peaks-of-Otter Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills.” Enjoy scenic biking trails at Blackwater Creek and Liberty Mountain Biking Trails. Canoe, kayak or tube down the James River. Hike the Peaks of Otter for some amazing views or go skiing year-round at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center. See full itinerary.

Wander the Waters of Martinsville-Henry County

Trout-filled rivers, quiet lakes and gentle mountains surround this beautiful location that’s full of rich history. Visit trails, historic sites and scenic landscapes. Enjoy a day on the Smith River while floating, canoeing or kayaking. Enjoy the amazing scenery at Philpott Lake then dive in, or hike and bike the many trails around the lake. See full itinerary.

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Where will the West's next deadly wildfire strike? The risks are everywhere

AHEAD OF THE FIRE

Of small communities across 11 states, more than 500 have a higher wildfire hazard potential than Paradise, Calif.

Caution: Graphic audio in this report may be disturbing.

It started when hot autumn winds snapped a power line east of Paradise, California, showering the ground with sparks. 

Flames shot up in dry grass near the Feather River, fanned into nearby pine trees and raced 8 miles to town.

Eighty-five people died and nearly 19,000 buildings were destroyed in the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire.

No one could have anticipated such a catastrophe, people said. The fire’s speed was unprecedented, the ferocity unimaginable, the devastation unpredictable.

Those declarations were simply untrue. Though the toll may be impossible to predict, worst-case fires are a historic and inevitable fact. 

And the same factors that doomed Paradise also put hundreds of other towns at risk, according to an Arizona Republic and USA TODAY analysis of fire hazards across 760 million acres of the American West.

Westlake Legal Group ec6cb652-c408-4cf0-8fc7-a2b5cdd28f32-burn Where will the West&apos;s next deadly wildfire strike? The risks are everywhere

While those hazards begin with fire, they ultimately are about human risks. 

Phillip Levin, a researcher at the University of Washington, puts it this way: “Fire is natural. But the disaster happens because people didn’t know to leave, or couldn’t leave. It didn’t have to happen.” 

The Republic and USA TODAY examined about 5,000 communities across 11 states.

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We evaluated fire risk in the 11 Western U.S. states. USA TODAY

Of small communities with fewer than 15,000 households, 526 face a wildfire potential greater than in Paradise. 

Hundreds of others are also at risk.

This is how we found out:

The analysis begins with U.S. Forest Service data, which weighs 65 risk factors such as topography, precipitation, vegetation and previous fires, and simulates tens of thousands of possible fire seasons. 

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U.S. Forest service data shows wildfire hazard across the country. USA TODAY

Those simulations break down the country into squares of land about 18 acres in size. Each square is given a fire-hazard rating on a 1 to 5 scale.

Census designated places, where the federal government tallies population statistics, show populated locations in these states. 

Our findings here exclude large cities and focus on smaller communities.

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Our findings exclude large metro areas and focus on smaller communities. USA TODAY

Around each place, the analysis draws a 1-mile buffer zone, generally the distance fire embers can spread into town, experts say. 

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Our analysis included a one mile buffer around each place to account for wind-blown embers. USA TODAY

Finally, each place gets a score: the average score for each pixel of burnable land inside those boundaries. This is the community’s wildfire hazard potential. 

On the 1 to 5 scale, Paradise was 3.81. 

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The wildfire hazard score for Paradise, Calif. is 3.81. USA TODAY

Across the West, 526 small communities — more than 10 percent of all places — rank higher. 

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Places with a wildfire hazard score greater than Paradise, Calif. USA TODAY

But the wildfire hazard potential, or WHP, is only the first step in assessing human danger. Risks can be magnified by:

1. Evacuation constraints

For towns across the West, the analysis calculated the ratio of households to major exit roadsParadise had six potential escape routes. That meant an estimated 1,818 households using each route during a mass evacuation.

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Major escape routes for Paradise, Calif. USA TODAY

In reality, the demand in Paradise was greater. On town evacuation maps, one winding exit road contains the warning “Do Not Travel,” and several other routes were effectively cut off even as residents tried to flee. 

That means thousands more terrified residents trying to squeeze onto key roads during an evacuation. Paradise had one of the highest egress ratios of any small town in the West. But dozens of communities rank higher, and many others are close behind. 

2. Age

Older residents may need more time to evacuate, may depend on others for transportation or health care, and may not be connected to electronic warning systems. 

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The median age of residents killed in Paradise, Calif. is 72. USA TODAY

The analysis examined the percentage of each community older than 75. In Paradise, 10 percent of all residents were over the age of 75.

The median age of Camp Fire victims was 72. Among the 85 who died, at least 62 were age 65 or older; 36 were over age 75. 

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Places with both older residents and greater wildfire hazard scores than Paradise, Calif. USA TODAY

Of small communities across the West, 125 have both a higher wildfire potential than Paradise and a higher percentage of elderly residents. 

3. Disabilities

Disaster research makes clear that people with disabilities are at greater risk. The analysis calculated the percentage of residents with a disability. In Paradise, a quarter of all residents had a disability.

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Places with disability and wildfire hazard scores greater than Paradise, Calif. USA TODAY

Across the West, 101 small communities have both a higher wildfire potential than Paradise and a larger percentage of residents with a disability. 

4. Alerting

Many counties have the authority to send “Amber-alert” style messages to all cellphones in range, but not all do so. The analysis identified counties and tribal governments that can broadcast notifications to all phones when public safety is in danger.

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Emergency alerts were not sent during the fire in Paradise, Calif. USA TODAY

Butte County, in which Paradise sits, can broadcast messages to mobile phones, but had never activated that system before the Camp Fire, and did not send a Wireless Emergency Alert that day. 

Across the West, the analysis identified 1,529 communities in jurisdictions that cannot send these alerts. Like Paradise, 2,506 others are in areas that can send alerts but have never used the system. 

5. Mobile homes

The analysis examined the percent of households that live in mobile home parks. 

Even when built to code, mobile homes may pose a greater fire risk. Their close spacing and materials used in construction can be fuel for flames to spread.

1,300 households lived in Paradise’s 30 mobile home parks prior to the Camp Fire. That was 1 in every 8 households.

Of the 85 people who died in the Camp Fire, 37 were residents of mobile homes.

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Paradise residents who lived in mobile homes , those who died are marked in red. USA TODAY

Since 1984, an estimated 6 million people nationwide have been hurt or damaged by wildland blazes, with more than 2,000 deaths and $60 billion in property damage.  

The threat is escalating as human development encroaches on forest fringes, and as climate change increases the severity of monster fires. 

The peril may be most pronounced in 11 Western states, where conditions are perennially ripe from coastal chaparral to alpine peaks. And, when the Camp Fire obliterated Paradise, California, last year, it became apparent that entire towns are at risk. 

But that doesn’t mean they must burn, or people must die. Other variables escalate those risks.

Levin, the Washington researcher, studied the role of 13 key socioeconomic factors in wildfire catastrophes. 

If a community has high numbers of residents who are poor, elderly, disabled and minorities, he says, some won’t have money for flame-proof homes. Some won’t have the physical ability to maintain safe yards. Some can’t afford cellphones and internet to get early warnings, or vehicles to get out.

“That combination makes a community more vulnerable — in some cases very vulnerable,” Levin said. 

Last year, upward of 58,000 fires killed about 100 people and destroyed 23,000 homes — record losses over the past century. 

But there’s plenty left to burn: Verisk, an insurance industry analyst, estimates 4.5 million households in the West continue to face high or extreme wildfire risk, with a total value of $237 billion. In Montana and Idaho, more than a quarter of the population lives in extreme- or high-risk places.

“What happens when central Oregon becomes a Paradise?” asks Joe Stutler, a Pacific Northwest forester who preaches fire-safe practices. “We’re seeing not just isolated homes, but entire communities engulfed now. Hundreds of people killed. It’s a wake-up call. …  Are we going to ignore the problem, or what are we going to do about it?”

Joe Stutler, Pacific Northwest forester

What happens when central Oregon becomes a Paradise? We’re seeing not just isolated homes, but entire communities engulfed now. Hundreds of people killed. It’s a wake-up call. … Are we going to ignore the problem, or what are we going to do about it?

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Many thought the town was too big to burn.

Instead, when it did burn, it felt too big for its 26,000 people to escape. 

Paradise had a half-dozen emergency exit routes — more than many small towns — but as fire leapfrogged into town, several key passages were blocked by fire or broken-down vehicles.  

That meant thousands of people were trying to jam onto the remaining escape routes. 

Engineers estimate a single lane of traffic can accommodate 1,800 vehicles an hour. That’s under ideal conditions with traffic flowing freely at high speeds. With stop-and-go traffic — more vehicles turning at intersections and oncoming emergency vehicles — the number drops below 500 vehicles an hour.

And where were the vehicles going? Butte County’s emergency evacuation plan offered this guidance: “Entry and termination points will be determined based on the location, direction and speed of the fire’s spread.”

As panicking residents fled, flames licked at their tires. Smoke enveloped roads and obscured the sun, turning day into night. Power lines and trees collapsed, blocking streets.

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A firefighter helps ignite a controlled burn in an attempt to halt the Camp Fire in Butte County on Nov. 14, 2018. Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic

On radio calls, firefighters described main roads as parking lots surrounded by fire and filled with civilians who could not get out.

As more key roads backed up, ambulances were trapped and caught fire with patients aboard, the crews pleading for help. Dispatchers diverted bulldozers from fighting fire to clearing roads.

The chaos can be heard in terrified voices on 911 calls and dramatized in dispatch logs. 

Of the 79 fire victims identified to date, at least 11 were found inside charred vehicles or on roadways next to them.

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Vehicles sit pushed off the road days after the Camp Fire swept through Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 11. Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic

Six of those were along a short stretch of Edgewood Lane, which dead-ends in a forest to the south. As fire arrived from the north, there was no way out.

Phil John, a Fire Safe Council leader in Paradise who helped draw up new evacuation plans months before the Camp Fire, said he and others warned that the community was in danger, especially after the Tubbs Fire killed four and wiped out more than 5,000 homes in Northern California’s wine country.

“I was telling people, ‘Listen, we have to have a plan now,’” recalls John.

Tweet This

Phil John, a Fire Safe Council leader in Paradise

Even though 85 people died, a whole lot of elderly and infirm got out of this town… I have to sleep … knowing I did the best I could.

The town was divided into zones with evacuations to be staggered as fire moved deeper into the community. A recent USA TODAY Network survey concluded that escape plans for Paradise were among the best in the West. By contrast, more than three-quarters of the highest-risk communities don’t have detailed, publicly available schemes. 

Because the Camp Fire was so overwhelming, John said, the best-laid plan broke down.

“We had 50,000 people all of a sudden on those highways,” he recalls. “No one’s ever seen a fire like that. It’s almost every horror story you hear firefighters talk about happening all at the same time.

“Even though 85 people died, a whole lot of elderly and infirm got out of this town… I have to sleep … knowing I did the best I could. ” 

The fact that nearly all of the victims died inside at their homes demonstrates another key point: Safety wasn’t just about getting out. It was about getting out early enough. 

Residents who didn’t receive or heed evacuation warnings faced increasing hurdles making it to highways, said Yi-Chang Chiu, an engineering professor at University of Arizona who studies evacuations.

“All the people making decisions last minute are straining the system,” he added. “They will have a hard time getting out, and these are the most vulnerable people because they are at the end of the queue.”

The traffic chaos in Paradise exemplifies what could happen in scores of Western communities with limited evacuation routes. In many cases, just one escape road leads through town, or dead-ends in wilderness.

The tiny community of Haigler Creek (population 19) in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim country is nestled along a gurgling stream. It’s a typical summer getaway with an adjacent campground that is busiest during peak fire season.

It’s also classified with a severe fire risk. The only way out for residents who have a median age of 91 is a rutted, 15-mile Forest Service road that in places straddles a cliff. 

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The first duty of wildland fire commanders is to figure out where the blaze is headed, how long it will take to get there, who is at risk, and how much time there is to evacuate.

Using satellite photos, weather reports, computer models and firefighting experience, they set trigger points for evacuations.  

Pushed by 50 mph winds, the Camp Fire outran projections. It wasn’t just the 200-foot flame wall. Embers flew a half-mile or more forward, igniting dozens of spot fires. 

The town evacuation plan, with 14 zones, instructed residents not to leave during a disaster unless a directive was issued for their area.  

Yet in many neighborhoods, the Camp Fire arrived before orders to get out. Residents who called 911, sometimes reporting flames in their yards, were told an evacuation had not been declared.

When the directive finally went out, it didn’t reach everyone: Like most communities in the West, Paradise had no alarm siren.

While evacuation instructions could have been broadcast directly to cellphones, community leaders instead relied on reverse 911 calls that were delayed as cellular towers became clogged with calls. Many in Paradise failed to get an alert or received one after the fire had swept over their neighborhoods. 

Nationally, there is no uniform warning system for wildfires. And The Republic analysis found that shortcomings in Paradise are common across the West. 

Few towns have sirens, and residents seldom know what to do when they go off.

Instead, most communities rely on reverse-911 calls, radio and TV bulletins, or Amber-type alerts to announce evacuations. Reverse 911 calls require enrollment. The Wireless Emergency Alert, or WEA message system, could reach every cellphone in an area unless individuals opt out.

This helter-skelter system is compounded by the fact many threatened locations are full of summer cabins, occupied at peak fire season by folks who may have no clue about local emergency notifications.

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A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Noah Berger/Associated Press

The Republic mapped all locations across the West that are authorized to send wireless messages. Just over half — 215 counties out of a total 413 — have been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to communicate with all cellphones in a targeted area. 

Even in locations where wireless alerts are approved, the system is often untested: Only 59 counties sent out alerts from 2013 to 2019, and just 30 have used the system since 2018, according to The Republic’s analysis. 

Butte County, where Paradise is located, enrolled to send emergency messages but authorities had never run a test. On the day of the Camp Fire, they didn’t try the system, instead relying on a private contractor.

The alternate method, known as CodeRED, was set up to notify enrolled residents via phone messages, texts and emails. It remains unclear how many had signed up, but authorities estimate only about half received alerts. The Camp Fire moved so fast, local police fled their dispatch center before a community-wide evacuation order went out. 

Since Paradise burned, Butte County has issued wireless alerts at least 18 times, including evacuation orders and flash-flood warnings.

Understanding evacuation directives also may be more difficult for those who speak English as a second language. All but 14 of more than 500 wireless emergency warnings issued in the 11-state region over the past seven years were in English only. 

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Disaster research, from hurricanes to tsunamis to wildfires, makes clear that the elderly and disabled are slower to escape.

They are more dependent on emergency services for transportation, and more likely to hunker down — refusing to leave home. 

A National Institutes of Health study found that, despite increased vulnerability, barely one-third of the elderly make significant disaster preparations.  

In an era of increasingly dangerous fires due to global warming, they account for a growing share of the population: The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to more than double by 2060, according to the Population Reference Bureau.

How does that play out in catastrophic events?

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, about 15 percent of the city’s population was 60 or older, but that group accounted for 70 percent of the deaths. 

The median age of Camp Fire victims was 72. Among the 85 people who perished, at least 62 were age 65 or older.  And a quarter of the town’s residents were disabled — twice California’s average. 

The outcome in Paradise could have been far worse. Local media described how staffers at Sunshine Assisted Living home and other shelters saved hundreds of patients by ferrying them to safety in vans and personal vehicles — even persuading other evacuees to join the rescue effort.

Nationally, Paradise falls in the top quartile for age and disabilities. But high rankings are not uncommon for fire-threatened places. 

The most recent American Community Survey lists 125 small, fire-endangered communities across the West with higher percentages of elderly residents and a greater wildfire hazard than Paradise. One hundred have higher disability rates.

Troy, Montana, a town with a population of fewer than 1,000, has a disability rate of 40 percent. One in eight residents is over 75. Enveloped in Kootenai National Forest, the community also has no Wireless Emergency Alert, so only those who opt in get disaster warnings by phone. But there is a siren by the sewer station.

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The worst-case wildfire can travel through a coniferous forest at 6 mph or faster, and through dry grasslands at 14 mph.

Flame lengths can reach 300 feet, sometimes pushed horizontal by winds. Temperatures get hot enough to melt cars. 

Wherever one of these fires hits, the threat is not just a flaming wall, but red-hot embers lofted up to a mile ahead of the main blaze.  

In Paradise, a blizzard of firebrands inundated the town, setting off an estimated 400 spot fires, landing on unkempt yards, roofs and gutters full of dead leaves. Once in town, fire spread from building to building in densely built neighborhoods. 

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A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Noah Berger/Associated Press

As demonstrated in Paradise, the amount of death and destruction in a community depends on available fuels — both vegetation and structures. Getting the landscape and buildings to fire-safe standards can be the difference between life and death. 

When Arizona’s Yarnell Hill Fire erupted in 2013, 19 hotshots were trapped by the blaze and killed just a few hundred yards from a ranch house. 

Inside the dwelling, protected by a metal roof and a vegetation-free perimeter, the ranchers comfortably survived a firestorm with outside temperatures at 2,000 degrees. Nearby, 129 dwellings were lost.

Before-and-after aerial photos provided stunning evidence that fire-proof buildings with so-called defensible space survive some of the worst fires — while others are reduced to ash and cinder. 

That lesson has been replicated in almost every devastating wildfire. 

Alex Maranghides, fire protection engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is meticulously analyzing how the Camp Fire progressed through Paradise, just as he has with other burned communities over the past decade.

The goal is to save lives and homes, said Maranghides, and the scientific evidence for fire-safe efforts is irrefutable: If mirror towns were hit by identical wildfires, but only residents of the first town had created a fuel buffer and made their homes less flammable, outcomes likely would be radically different.

“It can be the difference between an event becoming a catastrophe or just petering out,” Maranghides said.

Yet requirements for this kind of property management run afoul of a common preference for wild places free from government meddling, especially in the many unincorporated communities of the rural West.

A recent study of New Mexico dwellings in the wildland-urban interface found two-thirds of homeowners did not create defensible space. 

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A firefighter with Cal Fire stands watch in front of a control burn used to fight the Camp Fire near Bloomer Hill in Butte County in California on Wednesday, Nov. 14. 2018. Thomas Hawthorne

Throughout the West, rural communities come with feeble building codes, limited landscape ordinances and little or no enforcement.  

The Mescalero Apache tribe in New Mexico runs a program to help thin trees on tribal members’ lots. Above a mailbox where people can submit applications for tree thinning, a paper sign cautions that the wait list currently has more than 200 applicants.

For hundreds of towns and villages, the result is a patchwork of peril that leaves individuals responsible for fire defense, often led by volunteer groups or homeowner associations.    

Firewise USA recognizes residential areas with up to 2,500 dwellings if they meet criteria for safety and preparedness. The requirements include a formal risk assessment, a plan to reduce danger and at least one hour of volunteer work per household.

Firewise leaders say a blaze that was roaring toward Durango, Colorado, last year offers the classic “success story.” Residents of the outskirts enclave of Falls Creek were so zealous about their Firewise campaign that firefighters used the community to make a stand, halting the flames before they reached the city. 

“This was the pivotal neighborhood,” noted one fire official. “This was the fight that won the war.”

A Falls Creek resident added, “Sometimes you make your own luck, and that’s what we did.”

Across the West, just 380 places have homeowner groups or neighborhood associations recognized by Firewise USA. An additional 150 places in California have Fire Safe Councils with a similar purpose.

The National Association of Foresters says three-quarters of Western states have what are known as Community Wildfire Protection Plans, which must be adopted to qualify for federal grant funds.

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Vehicles and homes burn as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on November 8, 2018. JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Those plans prioritize areas for hazardous-fuel reduction and recommend ways to reduce the flammability of structures. But they contain general information rather than disaster prevention steps. 

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In a study co-authored by Levin, the University of Washington and the Nature Conservancy concluded that low-income residents in high-risk towns are less able to fend off fire, and to recover from a disaster.

The threat is especially significant for minorities: Blacks and Hispanics are 50 percent more vulnerable to wildfire, according to the study, and Native Americans are six times more vulnerable. 

Yet a recent review of federal grants found that the more socially vulnerable a community is, the less grant money it gets to fend off wildfire. Why? Because the poor and minorities also tend to be less experienced with bureaucracies and politics.

In Paradise, entire neighborhoods were wiped out not so much by the Camp Fire, but via a chain reaction. Flames enveloped older dwellings less than 20 feet apart, passing from one structure to the next.

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Flames consume The Screen & Window Shop as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Noah Berger/Associated Press

That phenomenon is glaring in satellite images of mobile home parks: Paradise Mobile Home Estates, Ridgewood Mobile Home Park, Pine Springs Mobile Home Park, Acres of Paradise Mobile Home Park.

Mostly havens for low-income residents and the elderly. All incinerated. 

At least 37 of those killed by the Camp Fire lived in mobile homes or manufactured housing.

Among fire-endangered Western communities with fewer than 15,000 households, Paradise had the most mobile home parks and the fourth-largest number of mobile home units. Prior to the Camp Fire, one in eight households lived in a mobile home park.

But while Paradise’s mobile-home numbers were high, it was not unique: In Elko, Nevada, with a population of just over 20,000, roughly one household in nine is listed in a mobile home park. Elko also has Nevada’s third-highest wildfire hazard score.

The San Bernardino National Forest surrounds Big Bear Lake, a small city of 5,000 residents with a much larger tourist population. About 1 in 7 of its year-round households live in mobile home parks tucked between thick pines.

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For communities, and their residents, the cost and hassle of protective measures may seem prohibitive.

But, over the long haul, experts say doing nothing to defend against fire is likely to be even more expensive, if not deadly.  

A recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology calculated that, each year, wildfires impose a total U.S. economic loss ranging from $63 billion to $285 billion. That includes everything from suppression efforts to property damage and post-fire flood control.

California’s insurance commissioner estimates the Camp Fire alone produced $7 billion worth of insurance claims.

How much difference can protective measures make?

After the Camp Fire, a news collaboration involving USA TODAY checked to see which single-family homes had survived in Paradise, and which were obliterated. The key factor turned out to be a 2008 building code adopted by California. Half the residences built after that date were unscathed, while four-fifths of older residences burned.

In Medford and Ashland, Oregon, a spate of destructive blazes has local officials mulling new codes.

Ruidoso, New Mexico, already has embraced strict requirements for homeowners — and hired forestry officers to uphold them. The motivating force: In 2012, a blaze known as the Little Bear Fire razed 254 buildings, the most destructive blaze in state history. 

But dozens of other towns are like Payson, Arizona, the hub in a triangle of wildfire threat. Safety advocates there, including the fire chief, have pleaded for fire-defense regulations, only to be shot down by residents who condemn such ordinances as onerous, unconstitutional and likely to trigger neighborhood feuds.

In the end, fire experts warn that even protections may not save some communities built within forests that are designed to burn.   

“It’s all about the fuels,” said Terry Hudson, a wildfire specialist with the Arizona Division of Forestry. “We can help mitigate 99 percent of the fires. But we know there’s 1 percent we can do nothing about. I’m telling you, you cannot catch that 1 percent.”

Westlake Legal Group ec6cb652-c408-4cf0-8fc7-a2b5cdd28f32-burn Where will the West&apos;s next deadly wildfire strike? The risks are everywhere

Pine, Ariz.: At the base of a canyon, every fire season can be a gamble 

Ruidoso, N.M.: Amid winding mountain roads, a village pushes back its encroaching fire threat 

Cascade-Chipita Park, Colo.: Beneath Pikes Peak, bracing for the fire to come again

Merlin, Ore.: Above a river valley, a rush to keep fire from closing in

Riggins, Idaho: Where the rivers meet, a town guards its lifeblood from wildfire

Leavenworth, Wash.: At the foot of the Cascades, ‘the last significant green area’ in fire country

Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Calif.: Atop a winding mountain road, a community ponders its escape route

Hayfork, Calif.: In an old logging town, ‘You have the risk of what happened in Paradise’

East Glacier Park Village, Mont.: At the foot of the mountains, a chance of a fire with little chance to stop it

Pamela Ren Larson is a data journalist with the Arizona Republic. You can reach her at pamela.larson@azcentral.com. Follow her on Twitter at @PamReporting

Dennis Wagner is an investigative journalist with the Arizona Republic. You can reach him at dennis.wagner@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azrover.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Forest Service, OpenStreetMap, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Fire Protection Association, Arizona Republic/USA TODAY analysis

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas

Get out and explore the natural beauty of Virginia. Outdoor recreation activities range widely from the beaches to the mountains in all four seasons. From riverboat cruises and wildlife safaris to whitewater rafting and mountain biking, there is something for everyone in Virginia’s great outdoors.

Abingdon Does the Outdoors

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon is known for its artsy vibe, historic charm and close proximity to some of the most spectacular outdoor recreation in the state. Find world-class hiking and biking along the Virginia Creeper Trail and Appalachian Trail. Journey through the Jefferson National Forest, fish the trout filled lake at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and more. See full itinerary.

Chesapeake: An Outdoor Lovers’ Paradise 
Westlake Legal Group Dismal-Swamp Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Chesapeake is an outdoor lovers’ paradise with plenty of activities for those who need to escape from life’s stresses. It is a sanctuary for birds and birdwatchers, home to more than 200 species including Bald Eagles, Hawks, Song Sparrows, and more and a great place for fishing or strolling at Elizabeth River Park. See full itinerary.

An Outdoor Adventure in Staunton

Nestled between Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forests lies the mountain-fringed town of Staunton. Discover your passion for the outdoors while taking in spectacular waterfalls, beautiful scenic overlooks and mountain views, all while enjoying the local food, brews and culture of the area. See full itinerary.

Byways, Barns, & BarbequeWestlake Legal Group Tazewell Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Tazewell County nurtures a special position in the majestic Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Take a ride on the Big Walker Scenic Mountain Byway and climb the lookout tower for a breathtaking mountain view. Visit “God’s Thumbprint’ or see the world’s largest collection of rare and endangered fresh water species at the Clinch River Basin. See full itinerary.

Outdoor & Eco-Adventure

Virginia Beach’s coastal terrain is perfect for all types of exploration. Outdoor and eco-adventure enthusiasts can take part in exciting dolphin cruises, wildlife safaris, oceanfront bike rides and much more. Enjoy the scenic view where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meets, take surf lessons or challenge yourself on a ropes course. See full itinerary.

By the Sea, By the Bay, By the Stars

Westlake Legal Group Assateague-Island Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague Island is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, biking, miles of pristine beaches, and eco-tours. Dine in waterfront restaurants or pack a picnic basket to savor on the sand. See full itinerary.

Here … Everyone is the Outdoors Type

With riverboat cruises, excellent fishing, beaches and canoeing opportunities and national, state and local parks, Prince William is an outdoor lover’s destination within a close proximity to Washington DC. The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 200 species of birds and 65 species of butterflies. Enjoy excellent fishing at Leesylvania State Park and much more. See full itinerary.

Is “Adventure” Your Middle Name?

Westlake Legal Group Peaks-of-Otter Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas Story Ideas

Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills.” Enjoy scenic biking trails at Blackwater Creek and Liberty Mountain Biking Trails. Canoe, kayak or tube down the James River. Hike the Peaks of Otter for some amazing views or go skiing year-round at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center. See full itinerary.

Wander the Waters of Martinsville-Henry County

Trout-filled rivers, quiet lakes and gentle mountains surround this beautiful location that’s full of rich history. Visit trails, historic sites and scenic landscapes. Enjoy a day on the Smith River while floating, canoeing or kayaking. Enjoy the amazing scenery at Philpott Lake then dive in, or hike and bike the many trails around the lake. See full itinerary.

See more…
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Outdoor Blogs
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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Biden, Scrutinized for Crime Bill, Unveils Plan to Reduce Mass Incarceration

Westlake Legal Group 23biden-facebookJumbo Biden, Scrutinized for Crime Bill, Unveils Plan to Reduce Mass Incarceration Sentences (Criminal) Prisons and Prisoners Presidential Election of 2020 criminal justice Biden, Joseph R Jr

Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose long record on criminal justice matters has cast a shadow over the early months of his presidential campaign, has unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at combating mass incarceration and reducing “racial, gender and income-based disparities in the system.”

In his more than three decades as a senator, Mr. Biden was a tough-on-crime Democrat who could be impatient with concerns about the societal dynamics that contribute to crime, and he championed the 1994 crime bill that many experts now associate with mass incarceration.

That history has presented a challenge for Mr. Biden as he mounts his third bid for the presidency, with many progressives questioning his commitment to reforming a criminal justice system that disproportionately ensnares people of color.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Biden, the former vice president, introduced a wide-ranging criminal justice reform proposal that his campaign said sought to reduce incarceration, and the toll it takes on poor communities and communities of color, at every stage, from addressing “underlying factors” that start as early as childhood to calling for the elimination of the death penalty.

The proposal comes before Mr. Biden is set to address two events this week focused on racial justice: a gathering of the N.A.A.C.P. in Detroit on Wednesday, and a conference of the National Urban League in Indianapolis on Thursday. On Tuesday, he will also tour a community-based center for underserved youth in New Orleans with his national campaign co-chair, Representative Cedric Richmond, the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

[Joe Biden plays down his role overhauling crime laws in the 80s and 90s. That portrayal is at odds with his actions and rhetoric back then.]

Mr. Biden’s proposal includes plans to address societal dynamics that affect children and are linked with crime and future incarceration, along with a heavy emphasis on reforming the juvenile justice system.

In proposals that would aim to reverse the legacies of the 1994 crime bill, Mr. Biden called for eliminating discrepancies in sentencing between powder and crack cocaine and for the elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing, repeating and building on points he has made on the campaign trail. He also called for an end to cash bail.

And the plan supports eliminating the death penalty through legislation at the federal level and incentives at the state level, a position that is a sharp departure from the position Mr. Biden vocally embraced in the 1990s and throughout his Senate career.

The proposal calls for empowering the Justice Department to “root out unconstitutional or unlawful policing” and for an independent task force focused on prosecutorial discretion.

For people who are re-entering society after serving prison sentences, Mr. Biden sets a goal of “ensuring” that all formerly incarcerated people have housing when they are released. That initiative would start with instructing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “only contract with entities that are open to housing individuals looking for a second chance,” as well as increasing funding for transitional housing.

His plan, which builds in part on several Obama administration initiatives, arrives just over a week before the second presidential debates.

In his first presidential primary debate of the 2020 campaign, Mr. Biden, who continues to enjoy strong support from African-American voters, found himself on the defensive as Senator Kamala Harris of California ripped into his record on civil rights. She criticized his opposition to many busing measures dating to the 1970s and his warm recollections last month about his working relationships with segregationists in the Senate. Mr. Biden has expressed regret for those remarks but has been unapologetic about many other aspects of his record.

At that debate, however, he did note his time spent as a public defender, an experience referred to in his proposal, along with a call to “expand resources for public defenders’ offices.”

Mr. Biden is also urging a $20 billion competitive grant program aimed at encouraging investment in preventing incarceration and crime at the state and local level by targeting issues such as “illiteracy and child abuse that are correlated with incarceration.” It comes with the stipulation that “states will have to eliminate mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes, institute earned credit programs and take other steps to reduce incarceration rates without impacting public safety.”

His campaign also calls for the investment of $1 billion a year in juvenile justice reform, as well as more stringent protections of juvenile records and expanded funding for programs and activities for when children are not in school.

While the issue of criminal justice has been a thorny one for Mr. Biden, it has also been challenging for others in the presidential field, from Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., whose city was engulfed in a crisis over a fatal police shooting of a black man, to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who as a congressman in 1994 voted for the crime bill.

In some areas, Mr. Biden is not as bold as many of his rivals. While he supports decriminalizing marijuana and expunging prior cannabis use convictions, he continues to stop short of supporting legalizing marijuana across the board.

Ms. Harris is expected to introduce legislation in the Senate on Tuesday that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. Next week, Mr. Biden will again share the debate stage with Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who earlier this year proposed his own bill that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

And Mr. Biden’s the proposal makes overtures to law enforcement as well: “Black mothers and fathers should feel confident that their children are safe walking the streets of America,” the proposal reads. “And, when a police officer pins on that shield and walks out the door, the officer’s family should know they’ll come home at the end of the day.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm

Two years after a major data breach exposed the personal information of around 147 million Americans, the credit bureau Equifax has agreed to pay at least $650 million to resolve consumer claims and multiple state and federal investigations stemming from the episode.

At least $300 million of that amount will go to consumers, according to settlement documents filed in federal court in Atlanta on Monday. Those affected by the breach could get an additional $125 million if the initial fund is exhausted. (Fines paid to state authorities and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau account for most of the rest of the settlement amount.)

Individual victims may be able claim as much as $20,000 in compensation for losses resulting from the breach if they can prove they were harmed. Many details about how those affected can submit a claim, and what they may be entitled to, are hazy, but here’s what we know so far.

Our columnist’s advice on how to protect yourself:
How to Protect Yourself After the Equifax Breach

Sept. 28, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 14money-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores

The 147 million Americans whose personal information was compromised in the breach are covered by the settlement. Those who can prove they have been fraud victims will be entitled to relief if the settlement’s administrator determines that their losses are “fairly traceable” to the Equifax breach. People who have not been fraud victims but who spent a significant amount of time taking precautions to protect their identities are also covered.

Consumers must submit claims, with documentation, that prove they lost money as a result of fraud or spent money on credit-monitoring services. The documentation could include credit card or bank statements, invoices, telephone records and receipts.

After the settlement receives court approval, a new website will be created to handle claims. In the meantime, consumers can get updates on the settlement process at ftc.gov/equifax.

There is little evidence that the breach actually led to fraud, making it difficult to determine how badly consumers may have been harmed.

But Equifax has agreed to provide up to 10 years of free credit-monitoring services to breach victims. Consumers will also be compensated for time spent taking preventive measures or dealing with identity theft, at a rate of $25 an hour for up to 20 hours.

They can also be reimbursed for up to $20,000 in losses that are “fairly traceable” to the breach, the settlement says, including the cost of freezing or unfreezing a credit file and buying credit-monitoring services, as well as fraud and identity theft.

To determine whether a loss is traceable to the Equifax breach, the claims administrator supervising the reimbursement process will consider factors like when the loss occurred and whether it involved possible misuse of the type of personal information that was compromised in 2017.

“The claims process is intended to be very flexible and generous,” said Norman E. Siegel, one of the lead lawyers representing consumers in the settlement.

Once the settlement is approved, consumers will have six months to claim any benefits. But an extended claims period of four years will allow consumers to recover losses that occur after the initial window closes if there is money left in the fund.

In 2017, Equifax said hackers stole sensitive information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, belonging to millions of its customers in one of the most significant data breaches in history. The breach took Equifax more than two months to detect, government investigators later discovered, and the company waited more than a month to inform the public. The hackers involved in the episode have never been identified.

Read more about the breach and its fallout:
Trying to Stem Fallout From Breach, Equifax Replaces C.E.O.

Sept. 26, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 27equifaxceo-SUB-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores
As Equifax Amassed Ever More Data, Safety Was a Sales Pitch

Sept. 23, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 22EQUIFAX-01-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores
Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now.

Sept. 8, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 09MONEY-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores

Stacy Cowley contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X ties with Mariah Carey, ‘Despactio’s’ Billboard record

Westlake Legal Group lil-nas-x-ap 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X ties with Mariah Carey, 'Despactio's' Billboard record fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e1e67c23-902c-5f6b-9788-815d6428d0e8 article

Lil Nas X is riding his horse all the way to the top of the Billboard charts for 16 weeks and setting a tying a record first set by Mariah Carey and Luis Fonsi.

“Old Town Road” logged its 16th week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart this week, matching the success that Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” achieved in 1995-1996. Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” accomplished the feat in 2017.

In the 61-year history of the Billboard charts, no song has spent more than 16 weeks at No. 1 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart.

The country-rap “Old Town Road” was originally a solo song, but 20-year-old Lil Nas X added Billy Ray Cyrus to the track and it topped the charts, achieving most of its success through audio streaming.

TAYLOR SWIFT FALLS SHORT OF TOP SPOT ON BILLBOARD HOT 100 AGAIN TO LIL NAS X’S ‘OLD TOWN ROAD’

Lil Nas X is looking forward to setting a new Billboard record next week. He posted a video Monday on social media of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” character Squidward Tentacles saying, “Please stream ‘Old Town Road.'”

“Me on the internet this whole week tryna break the billboard record,” he wrote in the caption.

“Old Town Road” initially was in a bit of controversy in March when Billboard removed it from its country charts, deeming it not country enough (it peaked at No. 19 on the country charts). But the drama didn’t hurt the song; it only propelled it.

“This song has been a uniter not a divider,” Cyrus said in a statement Monday. “I’m giving God the glory now for allowing me the gift to be part of such a special song. It’s a unique moment in time where people from all over the world and all walks of life find they have more in common than they do different. It’s a moment we’ve all shared and I’m grateful for it.”

DOLLY PARTON EAGER TO COLLABORATE ON ‘OLD TOWN ROAD’ REMIX WITH LIL NAS X

“Old Town Road” appears on Lil Nas X’s debut EP “7,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart earlier this month. The EP also features the Top 40 hits “Panini” and “Rodeo” with Cardi B.

“Old Town Road” is also spending its 16th week on top of both the R&B/Hip-Hop and rap songs charts. The song has several versions, including remixes featuring Diplo, Young Thug and Mason Ramsey; Billboard counts the original song and its remix versions as one when calculating chart position, thus helping “Old Town Road” stay on top.

A number of songs have debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, unable to push “Old Town Road” out of its top position, including two tunes from Taylor Swift (“You Need to Calm Down,” ”ME!”); Ed Sheeran and Bieber’s “I Don’t Care”; and two songs from Shawn Mendes (“If I Can’t Have You,” ”Senorita” with Camila Cabello).

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Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” stopped “Despacito” from reaching a 17th week at No. 1 when the pop smash jumped from No. 77 to No. 1 in 2017. Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” ended Carey and Boyz II Men’s epic run in 1996.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group lil-nas-x-ap 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X ties with Mariah Carey, 'Despactio's' Billboard record fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e1e67c23-902c-5f6b-9788-815d6428d0e8 article   Westlake Legal Group lil-nas-x-ap 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X ties with Mariah Carey, 'Despactio's' Billboard record fox-news/entertainment/genres/country fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e1e67c23-902c-5f6b-9788-815d6428d0e8 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm

Two years after a major data breach exposed the personal information of around 147 million Americans, the credit bureau Equifax has agreed to pay at least $650 million to resolve consumer claims and multiple state and federal investigations stemming from the episode.

At least $300 million of that amount will go to consumers, according to settlement documents filed in federal court in Atlanta on Monday. Those affected by the breach could get an additional $125 million if the initial fund is exhausted. (Fines paid to state authorities and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau account for most of the rest of the settlement amount.)

Individual victims may be able claim as much as $20,000 in compensation for losses resulting from the breach if they can prove they were harmed. Many details about how those affected can submit a claim, and what they may be entitled to, are hazy, but here’s what we know so far.

Our columnist’s advice on how to protect yourself:
How to Protect Yourself After the Equifax Breach

Sept. 28, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 14money-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores

The 147 million Americans whose personal information was compromised in the breach are covered by the settlement. Those who can prove they have been fraud victims will be entitled to relief if the settlement’s administrator determines that their losses are “fairly traceable” to the Equifax breach. People who have not been fraud victims but who spent a significant amount of time taking precautions to protect their identities are also covered.

Consumers must submit claims, with documentation, that prove they lost money as a result of fraud or spent money on credit-monitoring services. The documentation could include credit card or bank statements, invoices, telephone records and receipts.

After the settlement receives court approval, a new website will be created to handle claims. In the meantime, consumers can get updates on the settlement process at ftc.gov/equifax.

There is little evidence that the breach actually led to fraud, making it difficult to determine how badly consumers may have been harmed.

But Equifax has agreed to provide up to 10 years of free credit-monitoring services to breach victims. Consumers will also be compensated for time spent taking preventive measures or dealing with identity theft, at a rate of $25 an hour for up to 20 hours.

They can also be reimbursed for up to $20,000 in losses that are “fairly traceable” to the breach, the settlement says, including the cost of freezing or unfreezing a credit file and buying credit-monitoring services, as well as fraud and identity theft.

To determine whether a loss is traceable to the Equifax breach, the claims administrator supervising the reimbursement process will consider factors like when the loss occurred and whether it involved possible misuse of the type of personal information that was compromised in 2017.

“The claims process is intended to be very flexible and generous,” said Norman E. Siegel, one of the lead lawyers representing consumers in the settlement.

Once the settlement is approved, consumers will have six months to claim any benefits. But an extended claims period of four years will allow consumers to recover losses that occur after the initial window closes if there is money left in the fund.

In 2017, Equifax said hackers stole sensitive information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, belonging to millions of its customers in one of the most significant data breaches in history. The breach took Equifax more than two months to detect, government investigators later discovered, and the company waited more than a month to inform the public. The hackers involved in the episode have never been identified.

Read more about the breach and its fallout:
Trying to Stem Fallout From Breach, Equifax Replaces C.E.O.

Sept. 26, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 27equifaxceo-SUB-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores
As Equifax Amassed Ever More Data, Safety Was a Sales Pitch

Sept. 23, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 22EQUIFAX-01-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores
Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now.

Sept. 8, 2017

Westlake Legal Group 09MONEY-videoLarge Equifax Data-Breach Settlement: Get Up to $20,000 If You Can Prove Harm Personal Finances Identity theft Equifax Inc Cyberattacks and Hackers Credit Scores

Stacy Cowley contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com