California wildfires continue to spread

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wildfires in California continued to spread on Tuesday, having burned more than 140,000 acres of land throughout the state and caused an estimated US$13 million worth of damage. The blaze started burning last Wednesday north of Los Angeles.

Emergency crews said they were hopeful that they would be able to control the fire. 3,600 personnel are involved in containing the wildfire. Currently, twenty-two percent of the blaze is contained, rising from only five percent as little as a day ago.

Changing weather conditions also helped firefighting efforts, as temperature in the area fell to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, down from over a hundred degrees on Monday.

"I'm feeling a lot more optimistic today than I did yesterday. The crews are doing fabulous work out there on the ground, but the bottom line is that they're fighting for every foot," Dietrich said on Tuesday.

In a statement, Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that "[his administration] is working around the clock to ensure that our brave men and women working on the fires front lines have the resources needed to respond and beat back these fires as quickly as possible."

"We have the toughest and best-trained firefighters in the world fighting to protect public safety and property. I am confident in the state's response as these fires continue to burn throughout California," he said.

Two firefighters were killed in the blaze on Sunday, after fires burnt their vehicle on front lines. Over 10,000 residents have evacuated areas threatened by the flames.