A wildfire in California near Yosemite National Park continues to burn out of control. Severe weather is in the forecast for millions of Americans. And one thing actually cooling down is the housing market.
👋 It’s Laura Davis. It’s Monday. And this is the news you need to know.
But first, have you heard about the bird? One of “the weirdest birds in the world,” that is. New Zealand’s kakapo parrot was once thought to be extinct. But conservation efforts saved it. Here’s how.
Thousands flee as California wildfire expands
One of California’s biggest wildfires this year exploded to over 26 square miles Monday, forcing thousands to flee remote mountain communities as the blaze near Yosemite National Park burned out of control. Firefighters, meanwhile, made progress against the Washburn Fire 12 miles east near Yosemite that threatened the park’s largest and most iconic sequoia grove. The Washburn Fire was 87% contained after two weeks of firefighting, and the Oak Fire was 10% contained as of Monday, according to Cal Fire. Keep reading for the latest on the fires.
Severe storms will bring heat wave to an end
More than 50 million people in the Northeast were at risk of severe storms Monday as a strong cold front brings a crashing halt to the extreme heat wave that set records across the region and was blamed for at least two heat-related deaths over the weekend in Boston.
Here’s the latest:
- Heat records broken: Boston broke a daily record-high temperature Sunday of 99 degrees, forecasters said. Providence (96 degrees) and Philadelphia (99) also set heat records Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
- Severe storms from DC to Maine: While storms were set to bring an end to the heat, they come with a threat of damaging winds, hail and perhaps even a tornado, AccuWeather said. Cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington were at risk for severe weather.
- Heat wave to persist in some places: Meanwhile, the persistent, sizzling heat in the south-central U.S. will last a few more days, and a heat wave will build across the northwestern U.S., the National Weather Service said.
What everyone’s talking about
The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.
Biden’s on the mend: COVID-19 symptoms almost gone
President Joe Biden’s symptoms have “almost completely resolved” after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, his physician said Monday. Biden is reporting only some residual nasal congestion and minimal hoarseness, Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president, said in a letter. “The president continues to tolerate treatment well,” he said. “He will continue Paxlovid as planned. He is experiencing no shortness of breath at all.” He is expected to complete five full days of isolation before being tested again for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The latest from the White House.
As market cools, some homebuyers get a second chance
As U.S. homebuyers back out of purchases at the highest rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, other buyers are getting a second chance to get their first choice for a home. About 60,000 home-purchase agreements fell through in June, Redfin said, or about 14.9% of homes under contract that month. That’s the highest percentage on record excluding March and April 2020, when the housing market came to a standstill as the pandemic hit. But is it a slight correction in pricing or a recession-prompted trend? It depends, experts say. Keep reading.
Alex Jones’ defamation trial begins in Texas
Jury selection began Monday in Austin, Texas, for a trial that will determine for the first time how much money conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook Elementary School parents for telling his audience that the deadliest classroom shooting in U.S. history was a hoax. It will be the first of three trials to assess monetary penalties for defamation and emotional distress caused by Jones. He and others in his Austin-based InfoWars media system repeatedly portrayed the shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 students and six educators, as a hoax meant to justify a crackdown on gun rights. Keep reading for more about Jones’ trial.
A break from the news
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.