Los Angeles Wildfires Close Roads, Threaten Crops, Force Evacuations

Wildfires raging across Southern California have shut a major commuter artery in Los Angeles, suspended filming, wiped out more than $3 billion of market value for regional utility Edison International and are threatening some of the state’s lucrative crops.

Stretches of Interstate 405, which feeds major Los Angeles job centers, were shut as flames engulfed nearby mountainsides. Neighborhoods near the freeway and the famed Mulholland Drive, including parts of upscale Bel-Air, were evacuated. Snap Inc. shut operations, and a major conference on microcap stocks that was scheduled to be held in Los Angeles through Thursday was canceled. Ventura County, home to a third of California’s avocado acreage, has seen tens of thousands of acres consumed, and citrus growers have been affected.

Southern California faces extreme fire risk from dry winds

(Bloomberg) -- Dry and warm gusts blowing in from the desert have elevated the wildfire risk in Southern California to critical, several weeks after deadly flames tore through wine country to the north.

The strongest Santa Ana winds of the season threaten more than 14,000 square miles (36,260 square kilometers) covering a population in excess of 19.9 million, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. That includes Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino. They’re expected to last through Thursday.

California Brothers Nabbed in Staged Auto Accident Ring Involving 20 Others

A two-year investigation has netted 22 suspects in an auto fraud ring in California that cost insurers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Brothers Angel Topete, 36, and Joshua Topete, 34, both of San Martin, Calif., were arrested on numerous felony charges for allegedly running an organized auto insurance fraud scam involving more than 20 individuals and 18 staged collisions netting conspirators $210,000 in fraudulent auto insurance claims.

California Division of Workers’ Comp Suspends 21 Medical Providers for Fraud

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation has suspended 21 more medical providers from participating in the state’s workers’ compensation system, bringing the total number of providers suspended this year to 115. The providers were suspended for fraud or other criminal actions.

The suspensions were made possible by the passage last year of Assembly Bill 1244, which requires the DWC administrative director to suspend any medical provider convicted of a crime involving fraud or abuse of the Medi-Cal or Medicare programs or the workers’ comp system, a patient, or related types of misconduct.

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