CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 18, 1997
It's tough to say "newt" with a straight face, or even to look at one of the tiny amphibians without cracking a smile. But the predicament facing the tannish-brown salamander native to California's coastal and Sierra ranges is nothing to laugh at. Locally, shade-eating wildfires and a thinning ozone layer are wiping out the newt's fragile eggs in the Santa Monica Mountains.