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This article is from the In-Depth Report Wildfires and Climate Change

Southern California wildfires destroy hundreds of homes

Wildfires continue to rage through three areas of southern California today -- Montecito, Sylmar, and parts of Orange County -- having already claimed at least 800 homes, the Associated Press is reporting.

It's the third day of fires that are consuming some 29 square miles, fanned by Santa Ana winds that are expected to die down by this afternoon. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in all three of the counties that include the burning areas. Many thousands have been evacuated, and the AP reports that there have been 19 injuries -- 13 residents and 6 firefighters.

The fires are also threatening Los Angeles' power supply.

Los Angeles was the also the scene of wildfires earlier this year. "It's gotten worse and worse every year. I can't keep track of them anymore," Capt. Leonard Grill, a 20-year veteran of the Riverside County Fire Department, told the AP. "These used to be the out-of-the-ordinary fires, once-in-a-career kind of fires. Now they're every year. "

For more on wildfires, including how to predict them, the effect of climate change on their frequency, and other issues, see our previous coverage.

Photo of an October 2007 wildfire in Foothill Ranch, Orange County, by tree_trunks via Flickr

 

 

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