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California Wildfires Cause Widespread Evacuation



A group of wildfires fueled by gusting Santa Ana winds in Southern California has forced the evacuation of a number of equestrian facilities in the area. Over 150 homes in the Scripps Ranch area have burned. The latest update from photographer Debbie Uecker, who lives in the area, was the that the fire was heading directly for Michele Macfarlane's Scripps Ranch. Attempts to reach Macfarlane and other residents in the area were unsuccessful.

A state of emergency has been declared in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties, where the fires have destroyed blocks of homes, closed major roadways and interrupted air travel across the country.

California Governor Gray Davis has asked President Bush to declare the four areas hardest hit by the fires federal disaster areas, and while President Bush has not yet done so, he did tell White House reporters that he would help in any way he could.

The Cedar Fire, the largest of the four burning in the San Diego area, has killed nine people so far. The fire was reportedly started by a lost hunter who lit a signal fire. The Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire, which threaten the San Bernardino area, merged Sunday, Oct. 26 creating a line of flames between 35 and 40 miles long. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities are searching for two men under suspicion of arson and a possible murder.

Stay tuned to this site for updates as they are learned.

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