Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fires In California Number at Nearly 1,500

The Largest of the blazes in California, a massive blaze in the Big Sur region, is one of more than a thousand wildfires burning in California.

Some of the larger blazes of the 1,420 statewide fires are being surrounded by firfighters. 364,600 acres - or almost 570 square miles - have burned.

Southern California, the region that usually sees these kinds of wildfires, has remained pretty quiet so far, not seeing the kind of fire activity that the areas of the state to the north are experiencing. A "red flag warning" - meaning the most extreme fire danger - remains in effect for Northern California.

The weather in the coming days and months is not expected to help efforts. Part of the blame lies in lower-than-average rainfall and record levels of parched vegetation. The fires burning now were mostly sparked by lightning storms that were unusually intense for so early in the season.

The damage caused by the fires is the destruction of more than 50 buildings.

On Saturday, President Bush issued an emergency declaration for California and ordered federal agencies to assist in firefighting efforts.

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