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Emergency declared for two California State counties

Video by Carla WESTERHEIDE

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-31

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for two southern counties over four separate wildfires that have "burned approximately 13 thousand acres" in the state of California, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.

AFP - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared states of emergency in Los Angeles and Monterey counties in response to four wildfires that have ravaged the southern part of the state.
  
Schwarzenegger, who announced the state of emergency Friday, said the fires "have burned approximately 13,000 acres (5,261 ha), threatened structures, destroyed homes and forced hundreds of people to be evacuated and sent to emergency shelters."
  
Friday, residents of more than 500 homes were ordered to evacuate as a blaze in La Canada Flintridge -- some 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Los Angeles -- doubled in size.
  
A Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers told AFP that over 500 firefighters, four aircraft and eight helicopters were battling the fire that was fueled by dense, dry brush in steep terrain.
  
In Portuguese Bend on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a wildfire had slowed down after burning 75 acres (30 hectares) and could force up to 3,000 people to evacuate, Stowers said, noting that over 300 firefighters, about 70 fire engines and five helicopters were seeking to tame the fire.
  
Another fire was burning in the San Bernardino National Forest east of Hemet -- some 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Los Angeles -- and a fourth blaze, dubbed the Morris fire was being gradually brought under control, the state forestry and fire protection agency said.
  
The San Gabriel Valley, which lies to the east of Los Angeles, experienced record heat and low humidity, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in the warmest locations, the National Weather Service said in its red flag warning for the region.
  
California is frequently hit by wildfires and in 2007 suffered the worst blazes in its history, which forced the evacuation of 640,000 residents and destroyed around 2,000 homes in southern California.

Date created : 2009-08-29

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