California blaze rages, extensive damage likely
Authorities believe fire was
October 29, 2006
Raging wildfires in California have left at least four firefighters dead. According to reports, a fifth is battling for his life with over 90 per cent burns after being engulfed by the blaze. The fire is still raging out of control. The administration believes that the fire was intentionally set.
Meanwhile the administration has announced that a reward of $500,000 for information leading to the arrest of the persons that started the wildfires that are still raging out of control.
This is considered to be the worst disaster involving firefighters battling a wildfire since 2001. Four fire men had died while fighting blaze in Washington state in 2001.
The fire began near the town of Cabazon, and, whipped by strong winds, spread rapidly out of control. About 1750 firefighters have been deployed on the scene, and 1100 people have been evacuated from 400 homes threatened by the blaze. While 10 houses have been gutted, winds and low humidity were expected to continue at least for more than a day which could obstruct firefighting.
With so many deaths having been reported, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered flags put at half mast as a mark of respect t the dead firefighters. The state administration has also ordered a state of emergency for the area of the fire.