Wildfires in southern California have killed two firefighters and destroyed over 14,000 hectares of bone-dry brush land. Thousands of residents have been forced to leave their homes.
At least six towns are being cleared as the blazes’ fast-moving northern front threatens even the suburbs of Los Angeles.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “These fires are still totally out of control. The emergency declaration, of course, will help to cut through the red tape and free up additional resources.”
Some 2,000 firefighters are battling the flames on several fronts which are burning just as fast in darkness as in the daytime.
Home owners can only watch and hope that the high temperatures soon drop and the rain comes. Meanwhile evacuation centres are being set up in schools and town halls
While thousands have fled the flames, some are ignoring the calls to get out. Two people who tried to ride out the firestorm in a garden hot tub were critically burned and had to be airlifted to hospital.