Quarter-million urged to flee as fires menace southern California

October 23, 2007 05:09

Wildfires blown by fierce desert winds forced hundreds of thousands of people in Southern California to flee, reduced hundreds of homes to ashes, and laid a hellish pattern of luminous orange over the drought-stricken region. At least one person was killed and dozens were injured. More than 600 homes burned, nearly 130 in one mountain area alone, and thousands of other buildings were threatened by more than a dozen blazes covering at least 310 square miles (802.9 sq. kilometers) Monday. Soon after nightfall, fire officials announced that 500 homes and 100 commercial properties had been destroyed by a fire in northern San Diego County that exploded to 145,000 acres (58,680 hectares).

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