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Discussion Starter #1
I read many stories of these fires.

A terrible disaster for California.

It just shows us that yes..........we may be very clever as human beings with all
our 'inventions' and technology - but we don't 'own' this planet - nobody does !!


Paradise lost in fiery California
By Joanne Griffith
BBC News, California




The famous California sun is now obscured behind smoke and ash
Sunsets in America's Golden State are among the most beautiful in the world, but
for some in southern California, it will be a while before they can see the sun's
glow without a filter of smoke and ash.

Dry areas, high temperatures and strong winds have created perfect conditions
for fire storms.

Six thousand crews are fighting more than a dozen blazes from the ocean to
California's desert border with Mexico.

Across seven counties, 470 square miles (1,214 sq km) have been scorched - an
area the size of New York City.

One person has been killed and another is in hospital being treated for severe
burns. Many civilians and firefighters have been injured.

Beachside rescue

Fires began to burn in the upmarket celebrity haunt of Malibu on Sunday.

Nestled between the ocean and the mountains, the picturesque Pacific Coast
Highway is eerily quiet.

Looking out across the water, the usually clear blue skies are hazy with smoke
blowing across from the canyons, with just a sprinkling of surfers spinning on
their boards.

Malibu residents wait patiently in cars or wander slowly along the road waiting for
fire crews and emergency services to give them the all-clear to return home.
Many sip on free drinks and snacks from local restaurants where the usual
bustling lunch-time trade is absent.

Amin Amler cuts a solitary figure as he walks his dog along the shoreline. He has
lived in Malibu for 16 years and has witnessed many wildfires in California. He
was evacuated from his home on Sunday and is currently staying with friends.

"There was a police truck in the street saying mandatory evacuation. I'm lucky, I
think my house is okay," he says.

"I have seen the crews put out fires here and it was amazing. I think they know
what they are doing. They're doing an amazing job."

Echo of Katrina

Away from the relative peace of Malibu, residents in San Diego have a very
different story to tell.

More than 300,000 homes have been evacuated in the county of San Diego
alone, with 1,000 properties and 300 businesses destroyed. Many emergency
evacuation centres are now full in San Diego, forcing some residents to travel to
Orange County.

In scenes reminiscent of the Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, 10,000
people have sought refugee inside the Qualcomm Stadium, home to the San
Diego Chargers. Thousands more have set up camp in the car park.


San Diego's stadium now offers shelter

But unlike the Superdome experience of Katrina's victims, necessary food and aid
arrived promptly with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (Fema).

President Bush has promised any assistance necessary and will visit California on
Thursday.

Every effort is being made to keep up the spirits of the evacuees. Music wafts
through the air in place of smoke, and a number of magicians entertain giggling
children with stories and magic tricks.

In the meantime, parents keep up-to-date on the latest news beamed from the
stadium's big screen - more commonly used to show touchdowns than fire
reports.

Raining ash

Displaced residents also make full use of the free telephone service to ease the
concerns of worried family and friends, and to connect with the outside world.

One San Diego resident arriving at the Qualcomm says of the scene near his
home: "It's crazy, we were surrounded by fire on both sides."

Others recount scenes of raining ash and soot, blackening the skies and playing
havoc with the health of those with heart and lung ailments.

As the blaze continues into another day, fire crews are hoping for respite. Some
fires are beginning to be contained as helicopters and aircraft drop water and
chemical fire retardants on out-of-control, tinder-dry brush.

Weather reports say the gusty Santa Ana winds fuelling the flames will subside
by Wednesday afternoon and cooler temperatures are on the way.
 

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i lived in california for 27 years. i can say that its the mudslides , fires and earthquakes that give cali its incredible beauty.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice to see George W made the effort to make a visit.

He seemed to forget to do this when Katrina did her damage.

Good old George !!
 
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