Nearly one million people are reported to have fled their homes in southern California as more than a dozen wildfires burnt out of control. At least five people have died and many more have been injured. State governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “I can tell you that everyone is getting equal attention and everyone is getting the same kind of cooperation.
“As a matter of fact we declared a state of emergency in all seven counties as soon as we saw the fires flaring up and we saw that this was something that was here to stay. So we are all working together on this.”
He has asked George W Bush to upgrade the firestorms to a “major disaster” which would trigger federal help. The president is due to visit California tomorrow. Schwarzenegger said that 68,000 houses – from cabins to luxury villas – are at risk. More than 120,000 hectares have already been blackened as tinder dry conditions combined with hot desert winds.