Emergency Declared in Calif. Fires

Blazes threaten more than 6,800 homes; better weather expected
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2008 9:18 AM CDT
Fire crews from Nebraska, Colorado, Oregon and Kansas, are engufed by smoke from a wildfire as it approaches a home south of Big Sur, Calif., Friday, June 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – President Bush declared a region stretching from Nevada to the Pacific Ocean a federal disaster area, the Los Angeles Times reports, as more than 1,000 fires raged across northern California. Some 17,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, which threaten 6,800 homes. “We don’t have any of the fires under control,” said a state fire department spokeswoman.

But the weather mostly cooperated with firefighters yesterday, prompting one official to say, “Our lives are ruled by the weather and, thankfully, we are predicting very light winds.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein thanked President Bush for the declaration, which brings financial relief to the state. It’s “hot, and the state is tinder-dry,” she said. “This will be a long fire season.”