Today’s News: Pitched battle to stop Powerhouse Fire; Discovery sheds light on Paiute massacre; Bulger trial

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Powerhouse Fire. Cooler weather and higher humidity are helping firefighters get a better handle on the Powerhouse Fire. Containment went from 20 percent to 40 percent overnight – but the blaze has now chewed through more than 46 square miles and nearly 3,000 residents are under mandatory evacuation orders.

Officials say at least six houses burned to the ground and 15 others were damaged this weekend as the fire split into branches and exploded in size.

Some of the more than 2,000 firefighters battling the blaze made a dramatic stand to save the small town of Lake Elizabeth yesterday. Meanwhile, the northernmost arm of the fire reached the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve near Lancaster. This morning officials say they’ve made good progress on the fire’s northeastern front.

Three firefighters have suffered minor injuries since the fire broke out Thursday but no other injuries are reported.

Fire officials say it could be several more days before the Powerhouse Fire is fully contained. KTLA

Owens Valley massacre. Archeologists with the L.A. Department of Water and Power think they’ve discovered the site of an infamous massacre of Paiute Indians in the Owens Valley 150 years ago. Historians say 35 Paiute were killed by settlers and soldiers in March of 1863 in a dispute over land and water. The Native Americans were either shot or chased into to Owens Lake to drown. The archeologists found the site a year ago, but kept it secret to prevent looting. Since then, they’ve dug up bullets, musket balls, buttons from Calvary uniforms and Native American artifacts. L.A. Times

Bulger trial. After almost 16 years on the run, James “Whitey” Bulger is about to face a jury in connection with his alleged role in 19 murders. A Boston judge is expected to hold a final pretrial conference today before jury selection begins tomorrow for the trial of the former Boston mob boss. The one-time FBI informant disappeared in 1994 after being tipped off that he was about to be indicted. He remained a fugitive until he was captured in Santa Monica in 2011. CBS News

Museum dispute.
The fundraising arm of the California Science Center is threatening to file a lawsuit over a deal that would give control of the museum’s parking lot to USC. The arrangement is part of a larger deal that would turn over management of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the university. The Science Center is the stadium’s landlord and the museum’s board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the deal Wednesday. The dispute pits the board of trustees against some of the museum’s biggest supporters. Opponents of the deal say turning over the parking lots could mean fewer visitors to the Science Center and the nearby California African-American Museum. L.A. Times

High-speed rail. California bullet train officials appear to be pushing back the start of construction for the first 30-mile segment of track from Madera to Fresno from July to late summer. Meanwhile, Central Valley landowners are challenging California’s high-speed rail authority in court. Their suit argues that the agency hasn’t explained how it will pay for the estimated $68 billion rail line. They also say the Rail Authority hasn’t secured all the environmental permits required for construction to start. Fresno Bee

Apple allegations.
The federal government and Apple are scheduled to square off this week over accusations of price-fixing e-books. The Justice Department says the Silicon Valley electronics giant conspired with a major book publisher to force to raise its prices for electronic books. Lawyers for Apple say the allegations are based on “faulty assumptions and unfounded conclusions.” Reuters