Wildfire returns to California, evacuating thousands

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November 25, 2007 01:38

 
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A fast-moving wildfire pushed by Santa Ana winds raced through the canyons and mountains of this wealthy Southern California enclave for the second time in little more than a month Saturday, destroying more than 30 homes and forcing as many as 14,000 residents to flee. The fire erupted shortly before 3:30 a.m (1130 GMT) after the long-predicted Santa Anas finally returned, and it quickly grew before the winds died down. By midafternoon it was estimated at 4,500 acres (1,821 hectares), with 25 percent containment. "Waking up at 4 in the morning with the smell of smoke in your nose and the wind beating at the windows is something that we learn to live with here, but it always comes as something of a shock," said Malibu Mayor Jeff Jennings. An estimated 35 homes were destroyed, and 10,000 to 14,000 people evacuated, said Los Angeles County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman.

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