DON THOMPSON Associated Press SACRAMENTO (AP) — California has completed 34 of the forest thinning projects it rushed to finish in the past year as a way to buffer 200 communities at high risk from wildfires, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. His office said two of the projects helped protect Santa Barbara residents during a fire before Thanksgiving. His administration expedited 35 projects in the wake of catastrophic wildfires that devastated communities in recent years, including one that nearly leveled the Northern California town of Paradise. The final project is expected to be finished this spring. Newsom was expected to discuss the projects and other wildfire-related issues, including his concerns over the future of the state's largest electric utility, during a public inter
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