Calif. Firefighters Battle 2 Huge Blazes

Predicted heat wave will magnify 1,700 fires in Calif.
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2008 3:03 PM CDT
Firefighter Brian Britton, of Ojai, Calif., throws flares unto a hillside during a backburn operation along Highway 1 in Big Sur, Calif., Sunday, July 6, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Thousands of California firefighters battled a huge blaze today that threatened homes in Santa Barbara County, but lost ground to another fire near Big Sur, the Los Angeles Times reports. And weather likely will not help: Winds, lightning strikes, and fierce heat are expected to hit the state this week. "That just gives us a day of lull," a forest service official said. "The calm before the storm."

Hundreds of other fires have sprung up around the state. "When you wake up one morning and have 500 fires across the state, it was a real shock to me," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a group of evacuees yesterday. "Only to find the next morning there were 1,000 fires, and the next morning 1,400 fires, and then 1,700 fires igniting over 14 days."