Even As Winds Calm, More Californians Flee Fires

Monday, November 17th 2008, 5:57 am
By: News On 6

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (AP) - Even though the Santa Ana winds have calmed down, making things a bit easier for Southern California firefighters, still more people are being urged to leave their homes.

Wildfires are burning in Los Angeles County, to the east in Riverside and Orange counties, and to the northwest in Santa Barbara County. More than 800 houses, mobile homes and apartments have been destroyed by fires that have burned areas more than 34 square miles since breaking out Thursday.

The lower winds are allowing firefighters to set backfires to prevent flames from advancing on hillside neighborhoods. Air tankers are swooping low over suburbs, dropping fire retardant. Big helicopters are shuttling back and forth on water drops.

Metropolitan Los Angeles smells of smoke. Downtown skyscrapers are silhouettes in an murky sky. Concerns about air quality today prompted organizers to cancel a marathon in suburban Pasadena where 8,000 runners had planned to participate.

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