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Firefighters watch as the Kincade Fire burns in Healdsburg, California, in October 2019. Photo: Philip Pacheco/AFP

The Federal Communications Commission is planning a field hearing in California following bipartisan pressure to get out of Washington and hear firsthand how last fall's wildfires affected communications networks in the state.

Why it matters: Power outages prompted by the fires brought cell sites down, interrupting wireless service for California residents. Policymakers hope informed guidance out of Washington could help minimize widespread outages next fire season.

Driving the news: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pressed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a letter this week to hold a field hearing in his district on the wildfires.

  • FCC spokesperson Tina Pelkey told Axios that plans are indeed in the works to hold a hearing in California.

Details: McCarthy said in his letter that a hearing could help inform wildfire-related recommendations the FCC may make upon completing an ongoing review of the voluntary framework that wireless companies formed for bolstering networks' ability to withstand disasters.

  • The House Energy & Commerce communications subcommittee held a hearing Thursday focused on network resiliency bills, including legislation from California Democrats that would require the FCC to hold public field hearings in areas affected by disasters.
  • The lawmakers who introduce the legislation — Reps. Doris Matsui, Anna Eshoo Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman — also urged Pai in a December letter to include targeted recommendations on wildfire responses in his review of the voluntary framework.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the FCC simply plans to hold its hearing in California, and not specifically in McCarthy’s district, as we originally wrote.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

Ripple CEO calls for clearer crypto regulations following SEC lawsuit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.

48 mins ago - Health

Popular independent COVID tracker officially ends daily updates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.