Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A view of the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, California, about 1pm PT on Tuesday. Photo: U.S. Forest Service

Red flag warnings are in effect over a vast stretch of the West — including California, Nevada and Montana, prompted by strong winds, high temperatures and drought conditions.

The latest: In Northern California, where fuel moisture and flammability are especially conducive to extreme wildfire behavior, the rapidly growing Caldor Fire prompted mandatory evacuation orders to be issued late Tuesday, as it tore through homes in and around the El Dorado County town of Grizzly Flats.

Zoom in: California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for the county earlier Tuesday due to the Caldor blaze — which ignited Sunday about 60 miles east of Sacramento and soon exploded in size. It was 0% contained and threatening at least 2,100 structures Tuesday, per the U.S. Forest Service's El Dorado division.

  • Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for dozens of El Dorado County communities, including El Dorado County and places just south of Highway 50, according to the Forest Service.
  • "In less than three days, the Caldor Fire has grown to over 30,000 acres," El Dorado National Forest officials said in an emailed statement announcing the forest's immediate closure early Wednesday.

Threat level: The fire could grow quickly throughout the day and into Wednesday as strong, shifting winds affect the region, leading to what the National Weather Service is calling "critical" fire danger.

  • Per El Dorado National Forest officials: "Because the fire is not controlled and is actively burning, there is a high risk of flare-ups or uncontrolled runs within the forest."

Of note: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), California's largest power company, announced plans to cut power to around 48,000 customers in parts of 18 counties in Northern California to reduce the risk of ignition from its equipment.

  • The shutoff primarily affects Butte, Shasta Tehama counties, in which the Dixie Fire — the second-largest wildfire in California's recorded history — is burning.
  • The Dixie Fire, which has torched at least 604,511 acres and was 31% contained, spread northeast Tuesday, triggering evacuation orders outside the town of Susanville, which has a population of around 18,000.

The big picture: Western states are in the grip of a prolonged, severe drought exacerbated by human-caused climate change that has exacerbated wildfire activity in recent years.

  • Eight of the 10 largest fires in California's history have occurred in the past five years, according to CalFire.
  • Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of heat waves and droughts, while also leading to bigger, more intense wildfires.

Go deeper: Excess COVID cases, deaths linked to wildfire smoke in new study

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Flood-ravaged Pacific Northwest hit by more record rainfall

Satellite images taken last Friday of flooding in the Sumas Prairie to the east of Abbotsford in British Columbia, Canada, near the border with the U.S. Photo: Maxar Technologies

Rainfall records tumbled in Washington state on Thanksgiving night as the first of two atmospheric river events forecast for this week began threatening the Pacific Northwest, per the National Weather Service.

Why it matters: The region is still recovering from last week's atmospheric river that brought record rainfall, flooding and mudslides, with Washington and Canada's British Columbia particularly badly hit.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.