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California’s Miserable Year Ending in Drought, Fire and Lockdowns

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Most Californians, it’s safe to say, can’t wait for 2020 to end. But the year is getting in a few parting shots on its way out the door.

December has brought the Golden State a grim encore of all the miseries that made 2020 so surreal. Wildfires are again forcing evacuations. Utilities are shutting off electricity to prevent live wires from falling in high winds and sparking more blazes. Rain refuses to fall.

All the while, another coronavirus lockdown looms as infections spiral out of control.

None of this seems out of a place in a year that at one point saw San Francisco’s smoke-darkened skies literally turn orange. But a state once known for optimism is exhausted.

“It’s just been such a terrible constellation of problems for the state,” said Michael Wara, director of the climate and energy policy program at Stanford University. “It doesn’t seem like it’s over yet.”

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