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Raging West Coast fires break new records and an NFL season like no other kicks off

Six of the 20 largest fires in California's history have taken place this year.
Image: A Coulson 737 firefighting tanker jet drops fire retardant to slow Bobcat Fire at the top of a major run up a mountainside in the Angeles National Forest on Sept.10, 2020 north of Monrovia, CA.
A Coulson 737 firefighting tanker jet drops fire retardant to slow the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest on Thursday. David McNew / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We remember all those lost on that tragic day and in its aftermath.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will attend events commemorating the attacks today.

Here's what else we're watching this Friday morning.


At least 12 dead, half a million evacuated as wildfires rage across West Coast

Seven more deaths have been confirmed where a wildfire is raging in Northern California, a sheriff's official said Thursday, bringing this month'sdeath toll from fires burning across the state to at least 12.

With multiple wildfires across the state, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, has called this fire season "record-breaking" and it's only half-way through.

"The 2020 fire season has been record-breaking, in not only the total amount of acres burned at just over 3 million, but also 6 of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history have occurred this year," Cal Fire tweeted on Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has blamed climate change for the current crop of fires and called out for bold action "at EVERY level."

Oregon is also suffering with more than 30 active firesand an estimated 500,000 people in mandatory evacuation zones. At least two deaths have been blamed on the fires in the state and Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday that more than 900,000 acres have burned.

Washington state has also not been spared. Wildfires there have killed at least one and devastated communities in the eastern part of the state.

In one small community near Medford, Oregon, stunned residents recounted the devastating impact of the Almeda Fire earlier this week.

"There were flames across the street from me, flames to the right of me, flames to the left of me. I just watched everything burn," said Jonathan Weir, whose home was destroyed.

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With winter coming and no aid deal, states are torn between saving their economies and stopping coronavirus

With America struggling to get the coronavirus under control and Congress deadlocked over new relief measures,states face a difficult choice: open the businesses most likely to spread the coronavirus, especially bars and restaurants, or keep them closed and risk a wave of bankruptcies.

While the number of new daily cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has slowly been declining over the last two weeks, the country is still closing in on 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 6 million confirmed infections.

And with flu season coming, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans not to let up the fight against COVID-19 on Thursday.

"We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy," he saidduring a panel of doctors from Harvard Medical School. "Don't ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don't try and look at the rosy side of things."


Chiefs beat Texans as NFL season like no other kicks off with nod to social injustice

Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs offered a symbolic gesture of support for racial injustice ahead of the NFL's first game of the season Thursday.

Before kickoff, the Chiefs stood with locked arms along their goal line as the national anthem was played on screens at Arrowhead Stadium.

At least one Kansas City player, defensive end Alex Okafor, appeared to kneel, and the Houston Texans remained in the locker room.

When the Texans returned to the field to lock arms with the Chiefs in a show of unity, some Chiefs fans were heard booing and performed the celebratory “Arrowhead Chop."

After Kansas City's 34-20 victory, star Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes thanked the Texans and their standout QB Deshaun Watson for that pre-game moment.

"We're unified as a league and we're not going to let playing football distract us from what we're doing, making change to this world," Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said after the game.

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Plus

  • In 2019 a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman pushed NBC News to retract an accurate story about the low number of terrorists at the border. A whistleblower report now alleges that there was a concerted campaign by DHS to inflate the numbers.
  • RIP Diana Rigg. The Emmy award-winning actress and star of "The Avengers" and "Game of Thrones" has died. She was 82.
  • Good news for comedy fans: "Saturday Night Live" is coming back and will be broadcasting from its Rockefeller Center studio again as of Oct. 3.
  • A tiger sighting near Knoxville has prompted a widespread search in eastern Tennessee.

THINK about it

Like Al Qaeda, QAnon endangers America, according to mental health expert Steven Hassan. Here's what to do if someone you love has become brainwashed he writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

Many summer camps stayed safe from COVID-19. What lessons can schools learn?


Shopping

Still love Legos? So do many other adults, including the author of "LEGO: A Love Story." He shares his tips on the best sets for every age.


One fun thing

OK, it's only been four days since Labor Day and the unofficial end of the summer (if the last few months counted as that). But you may already be ready to check out again...

Here's a month-by-month guide to some of the most notable movies and television shows coming out this fall.

The fall release calendar includes a mix of summer blockbusters delayed by the coronavirus crisis, as well as topical documentaries timed for election season.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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Thanks, Petra