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Oct-22-2007 23:39printcommentsVideo

California Requests Declaration of National Emergency Over Fires (VIDEO)

Gov. Schwarzenegger Requests President to Declare a State of Emergency for California Due to Southern California Wildfires.

Map of California
Affected areas in the Southern Cal fire zone are shown in red. Map of California courtesy Google and the LA times

(LOS ANGELES) - Fire officials say the wildfires burning in Southern California may burn all the way from the mountains to the ocean before it is over. Images of the Malibu Colony on television earlier with flames in the background were a clear indication that this is a fire possibly worse than anything in California's history.

The state's governor is now turning to the federal government for help. Already speculation is mounting over how well prepared the Golden State is for dealing with a disaster of this magnitude. Reminders of the problems surrounding the response to Hurricane Katrina edge into the picture, as people here wonder what Tuesday will bring.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to President Bush today requesting direct federal assistance, debris removal and emergency protective measures, including: firefighting, evacuation operations, and sheltering of displaced people and animals for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura due to the Southern California wildfires.

The searing fires fanned by the notorious Santa Ana winds have already claimed dozens of homes and thousands of people are evacuating. Reports list the freeways as jammed and the sweeping fires have raised the danger level so high that the Orange County Jail had to be evacuated.

In San Diego, County Supervisor Ron Roberts told reporters the fires are a major emergency, "The speed with which these fires are moving, because of the wind, they are probably unlike anything we’ve seen before."

Thousands seeking refuge from the encroaching wildfires made their way to Qualcomm Stadium, located near downtown San Diego. They also are utilizing the Del Mar Fairgrounds north of the city. Both have been designated as emergency shelters. As people leaving the area crowd the freeways, others are sticking it out planning to defend their homes with water from garden hoses.

Officials feared the fires would burn from inland mountains all the way to the ocean. The fires in the seven counties cover the area roughly from the Mexico border, through Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

The hot, Santa Ana winds are not expected to let up until late Tuesday, and that's bad news for the thousands of firefighters and support personnel doing everything possible to bring the wildfires under control. Tomorrow may see high winds force the grounding of firefighting airplanes, which are pivotal for their ability to dump tremendous amounts of water and fire retardant.

“We have to just pray the wind slows down because the wind is the No. 1 enemy in the dry weather,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said at a news conference in Malibu, where landmarks were destroyed by a large fire Sunday.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW, GREAT FOOTAGE OF THE MALIBU CANYON FIRE, COURTESY OF LIVELEAK AND YOUTUBE

Amature footage shot near Pepperdine University shot by Blueiscoool, youtube.com/user/Blueiscoool

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW OF THE POWAY AREA AND GATHERING ASHES ALL OVER THE GROUND, AS WELL AS DISTANT FLAMES, COURTESY OF ARMAN ASKARI AND YOUTUBE


Video courtesy of Arman Askari, you can visit Arman's MySpace page at: Myspace: myspace.com/armanaskari
Video




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