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  1. #101
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    Post June 24th

    FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (AP) - A 120-acre wildfire that destroyed
    four structures in the Los Padres National Forest was contained
    Thursday as another 60-acre blaze erupted in the San Bernardino
    Mountains.
    About 440 firefighters battled the larger blaze about 10 miles
    southwest of the Lockwood Valley area, said Joe Pasinato, a
    spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
    Investigators determined that fire started Wednesday afternoon
    in a residence and spread to vegetation, Pasinato said. The blaze
    burned down the residence, a cabin, a trailer and an outbuilding.
    It forced temporary evacuation of some residents.
    The cause was under investigation and no injuries were reported.
    Further inland, a 60-acre wildfire on Sugarloaf Mountain in the
    San Bernardino National Forest was 10 percent contained Thursday
    evening, authorities said.
    The blaze started Thursday afternoon on a remote, steep mountain
    slope, said fire information officer Georgia Smith. About 150
    firefighters kept it from moving east into trees, she said. They
    were aided by 11 aircraft, which dropped retardant, surrounding the
    blaze and stopping spread of flames by the evening, Smith said.
    The blaze did not threaten any homes and the cause was under
    investigation. No injuries were reported.
    Last fall, wildfires burned tens of thousands of acres and
    hundreds of homes several miles to the west, in the Lake Arrowhead
    area. But vast stands of trees killed by an infestation of bark
    beetles remain. Southern California's first significant wildfire of
    the year was in the area in March.

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  2. #102
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    Post July 13th

    Wildfires burn more than 17,000 acres in Southern California

    (Undated-AP) -- Out-of-control wildfires have burned through
    more than 17-thousand acres of brush and forest in three Southern
    California counties.
    A blaze on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest west
    of Palm Springs has burned nearly four-thousand acres. Officials
    say it is 43 percent contained and is burning back on itself after
    moving toward Palm Springs. The blaze earlier had threatened three
    mountain communities.
    A second fire in Riverside County has blackened about 350 acres
    and forced temporary evacuations in the Bundy Canyon area. It is 40
    percent contained.
    A blaze in the Lake Hughes area of northern Los Angeles County
    has burned 45-hundred acres. One outbuilding and a motor home were
    destroyed.
    And a fire in eastern San Diego County has burned about
    85-hundred acres.


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  3. #103
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    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters struggled Tuesday to
    contain wildfires that have burned more than 10,500 acres of
    Southern California brush and forest land.
    A blaze on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest burned
    more than 5,000 acres west of Palm Springs. It was 25 percent
    contained but still threatened the mountain communities of
    Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Garner Valley, officials said.
    A second fire in RiversidCounty erupted Tuesday, forcing
    evacuations in the Bundy Canyon area and burning more than 300
    acres. Firefighters also struggled with the weather - temperatures
    in the region reached 100 degrees.
    No homes were destroyed, and the cause of the fires remained
    under investigation, authorities said.
    In eastern San Diego County, a wildfire burned at least 1,500
    acres of brushy terrain and prompted the voluntary evacuation of
    Ranchita, a tiny rural settlement.
    An undetermined number of Boy Scouts and their supervisors were
    advised to remain at a Scout camp south of the fire, but the youths
    were not in immediate danger because the flames were burning away
    from them, officials said.
    In northern Los Angeles County, a 4,128-acre fire in the Lake
    Hughes area of the Angeles National Forest was 30 percent
    contained. The fire had prompted the evacuation of 10 homes shortly
    after midnight Monday.
    In Alaska, erratic, gusty winds whipped up several large
    wildfires, raising concerns for 1,585 firefighters battling 71
    wildfires throughout the state.
    "Firefighter safety is our primary concern," said Frances
    Reynolds, a fire information officer at the Alaska Interagency
    Coordination Center near Fairbanks.
    Hot, dry weather was expected to continue for at least several
    days. "It is going to be a long week," Reynolds said.
    The fire near the village of Bettles, about 185 miles northwest
    of Fairbanks, grew to 17,561 acres on Monday. Winds blowing from
    the southwest kept the fire from spreading any closer to the
    village and its 60 residents. The flames stayed about a mile from
    the community.
    Planes dropped fire retardant on another fire northeast of
    Fairbanks that at one point crept onto a resort property.

    APTV 07-13-04 2214EDT
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  4. #104
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    Post Big Blazes

    LAKE HUGHES, Calif. (AP) - Three rural communities were
    threatened Thursday by a fast-moving fire in the Angeles National
    Forest, but firefighters elsewhere in California made big gains in
    corralling blazes that have charred about 25,000 acres of brushland
    and forest this week.
    Hundreds of residents from Meenach, Three Points and Tweedy Lake
    were evacuated from their homes. Fire department officials also
    have asked about 600 people to voluntarily evacuate their homes in
    Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake.
    The fire in Pine Canyon, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles,
    grew to 10,290 acres and burned at least one motor home and another
    structure, said U.S. Forest Service information officer Ed
    Gililland.
    About 1,400 firefighters were on the lines and containment was
    put at 40 percent. Two have suffered heat-related injuries, and one
    firefighter was killed earlier this week as he was driving home
    from the fire, said Anthony Penn, a Los Angeles County fire
    department captain.
    Pine Canyon resident Tammy Brazil left her home for an
    evacuation shelter Monday night, wearing only her pajamas as she
    grabbed some clothes, three pets and her plasma TV.
    Although the flames started a mile an a half away from her home,
    the fire raced up to her house and scorched the back door.
    Firefighters were able to save her home.
    "Now I'm not a neurotic mess because I know my house is OK,"
    she said. "I'm ecstatic. I want to throw the firemen a Corona
    (beer)."
    Monsoonal flow of moist air into Southern California brought
    thunderstorms that helped firefighters on the lines of the
    3,690-acre Verbenia Fire west of Palm Springs in Riverside County.
    The blaze on the edge of San Bernardino National Forest was 95
    percent contained. Two other fires that burned about 500 acres in
    the county near Lake Elsinore were contained.
    In eastern San Diego County, the 8,867-acre Mataguay Fire was
    fully contained after destroying two homes and two outbuildings.
    Some 1,300 firefighters battled the flames, which were ignited by
    illegal fireworks near Lake Henshaw.
    Seventy miles north of Los Angeles, a 510-acre wildfire on the
    eastern side of the Tehachapi Mountains was 90 percent contained
    after destroying a house and motorhome in Cameron Canyon. Full
    control was expected by Thursday evening, said Kern County fire
    Capt. Doug Johnston.
    In the Sierra Nevada, a lightning-sparked wildfire in Yosemite
    National Park grew to 1,700 acres. Hikers were evacuated and trails
    were closed in part of the park earlier in the week when the blaze,
    one of nine naturally ignited two weeks ago, suddenly expanded.

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  5. #105
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    Post July 18th

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire raged toward four
    hillside communities Sunday in northern Los Angeles County, forcing
    several thousand people to flee their homes.
    Authorities said 1,600 homes in Santa Clarita had been evacuated
    since the fire began Saturday.
    "Only 600 to 800 homes are in imminent danger," said county
    fire spokesman Mike Brown, but he said authorities were taking
    precautions by evacuating all three canyons north of the blaze.
    Winds of up to 25 mph fanned flames toward homes in the
    communities of Fair Oaks Ranch and Via Princesa, and those on both
    sides of Sand Canyon just hours after officials had lifted an
    earlier evacuation, county fire inspector Edward Osorio said.
    The fire also forced authorities to temporarily close a 10-mile
    stretch of the Antelope Valley Freeway east of Interstate 5 Sunday
    afternoon.
    More than 1,000 firefighters, along with water-dropping
    helicopters, battled the blaze amid dry conditions and temperatures
    in the 90s, as residents remained outside their homes Sunday night,
    officials said.
    No injuries or structural damage was immediately reported from
    the fire, which began Saturday. It was one of several burning more
    than 40,000 acres in the state, from eastern San Diego County to
    Yosemite National Park.
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday approved a
    request for federal funds for Foothill Fire, one of six such
    requests for funds in California during the past week. The agency
    also approved funds for the Melton fire in Riverside County, about
    90 miles east of Los Angeles.
    Fire officials on Sunday had contained 50 percent of the
    3,600-acre Melton Fire. Full containment was expected Tuesday
    morning.
    "We're continuing to improve lines, and we don't see much more
    growth in the fire," said Jim Boano, a spokesman for the
    California Department of Forestry.
    Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for about 500
    homes, but voluntary evacuations were issued for another 200 homes,
    Boano said.
    The fire destroyed three single-wide mobile homes, 7 vehicles,
    11 outbuildings, one motor home and one travel trailer.
    The blaze started when an unidentified person shooting target
    practice sparked a flame that spread to vegetation, officials said.
    The person was given a citation and may have to pay all of the
    firefighting costs, Boano said.
    Meanwhile, firefighters continued to make steady progress
    against the Pine Fire that has been burning since Monday about 45
    miles north of Los Angeles.
    The arson fire was about 80 percent contained Sunday and had
    burned 17,418 acres, destroying three homes and five outbuildings.
    Two firefighters have suffered heat-related injuries and one
    firefighter died in a traffic accident while returning home from
    the fire's front.
    Nearly 1,000 people from rural communities had left earlier in
    the week but returned to their homes Sunday.
    In eastern San Diego County, the 8,867-acre Mataguay Fire that
    destroyed two homes and four outbuildings was extinguished Sunday
    afternoon. The flames were ignited by bottle rockets set off near
    Lake Henshaw, and were 100 percent surrounded Friday night.
    Another fire burned 92 acres and forced authorities to briefly
    close Interstate 8 in both directions about 60 miles east of San
    Diego, said CDF Capt. Dan Pagni. That fire, reported Sunday morning
    and traced to a campfire, was fully surrounded by the afternoon,
    and firefighters expected to extinguish the flames by Monday night.
    A 4,000-acre fire in Riverside County was contained and two
    other fires that burned about 500 acres were fully controlled,
    officials said.
    A lightning-sparked wildfire in Yosemite National Park was being
    allowed to burn because its slow-moving flames were cleaning the
    forest floor. The blaze had scorched at least 3,000 acres and
    forced the closure of several popular trails.

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    Post July 18th

    HEMET, Calif. (AP) - Evacuation orders had been lifted Sunday
    for about 2,000 people whose homes were in the path of a growing
    wildfire in Riverside County, fire officials said Sunday.
    The 3,200-acre blaze that started Saturday afternoon had
    threatened nearly 700 homes, but firefighters worked throughout the
    night to surround about 20 percent of it, said Capt. Rick Vogt, a
    spokesman for the county fire department.
    No homes or buildings were damaged. About 200 homes were still
    considered threatened but their occupants had not been ordered to
    leave he said.
    Hot, dry weather with temperatures in the 90s was forecast
    Sunday in the Riverside County area.
    Elsewhere, fire crews in western Nevada started heading home
    Sunday after mostly containing an erratic fire that had destroyed
    at least 15 homes and briefly threatened the governor's mansion in
    Carson City. The wind-driven fire, which blackened nearly 7,600
    acres along a 4-mile stretch of the Sierra foothills, was 85
    percent contained late Saturday and fire officials said it could be
    fully contained by Tuesday.
    "The danger has passed," said acting Carson City Fire Chief
    Stacey Giomi.
    Wildfires have erupted throughout California over the past week,
    charring nearly 38,000 acres.
    The Riverside County fire, located about 90 miles east of
    downtown Los Angeles, was started by a person shooting target
    practice, Vogt said. The shooter was cited and may have to pay a
    portion of the firefighting costs.
    In northern Los Angeles County, evacuation orders were lifted
    for a 100-home community close to a 2,800-acre fire near Santa
    Clarita, but residents of at least 80 other homes in the area were
    forced to leave their homes Sunday, officials said.
    The fire near Santa Clarita was 30 percent contained Sunday
    morning.
    "We're expecting it to change once it heats up and the winds
    start changing directions," said Ron Haralson, a county fire
    department spokesman.
    About 45 miles north of Los Angeles, an arson fire burning since
    Monday was 75 percent contained Sunday after blackening 16,800
    acres. That blaze had destroyed three homes and five outbuildings.
    The fire had forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people from
    rural communities, but mandatory evacuation orders were lifted
    starting Friday after wind pushed the flames away from homes.


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    Post JULY 19TH EVENING UPDATE

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters battled Monday to save
    hundreds of homes threatened by a stubborn wildfire that broke out
    over the weekend in tinder-dry brush and raced over hillsides and
    through canyons in northern Los Angeles County.
    Although no structures have been lost, thousands of people had
    been evacuated from homes since the fire began Saturday. It was
    ignited when a red-tailed hawk flew into a power line, was
    electrocuted and its flaming body fell into brush left dry by years
    of little rain.
    By Monday night, residents were allowed to return to all but
    about 350 homes. The wildfire spread across about 6,000 acres and
    was 45 percent contained. Firefighters used water-dropping
    helicopters to slow the flames as bulldozer operators and hand
    crews working in 90-degree temperatures rushed to cut a line around
    the blaze.
    "It looks a lot worse than it actually is," said Martin
    Esparza, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman. "The winds have started
    mellowing out and the temperatures have started to drop just a
    bit."
    Fire officials and TV crews were forced into a hasty retreat at
    one point when flames exploded into a fireball that burned power
    lines along a road.
    "It was something to see," Esparza said.
    The blaze, known as the Foothill Fire, was one of several that
    burned across more than 40,000 acres of California from eastern San
    Diego County to Yosemite National Park. The overall cost of
    fighting the four largest blazes was estimated at $20 million.
    In Stanislaus County, a wildfire burning out of control along
    the San Joaquin River spread to 1,500 acres late Monday.
    The fire about 15 miles west of downtown Modesto burned through
    dense brush into a restored habitat area for the endangered
    riparian brush rabbit, said county fire Deputy Chief Jim Weigand.
    The blaze threatened several ranches and its cause was under
    investigation. About 75 firefighters battled the blaze, which was
    believed to be human-caused. Winds up to 17 mph were hampering
    efforts.
    "The fire keeps flaring up on us in all sorts of different
    directions," Weigand said.
    Firefighters did mop-up work Monday on the Melton Fire, 90 miles
    east of Los Angeles in Riverside County. That blaze destroyed four
    mobile homes, 14 vehicles, 14 outbuildings, a motor home and a
    travel trailer. It was 95 percent contained Monday, with full
    containment expected by Tuesday morning.
    In Los Angeles County, more than 2,000 firefighters were
    battling the Foothill Fire. Four were treated for minor injuries,
    said fire information officer Leona Rodreick.
    By Monday night, evacuated residents have been allowed to return
    to Fair Oaks Ranch and Sand Canyon areas, but were kept out of
    about 350 houses in Placerita Canyon that remained in the path of
    the blaze.
    Only seven people stayed Sunday night at a Red Cross center at
    College of the Canyons, although some people with animals,
    including dogs, cats and a llama, were seen camping out in parking
    lots.
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday approved a
    request for federal funds for the Foothill Fire, one of six such
    requests from California during the past week.
    FEMA also approved funding for the 3,667-acre Melton Fire, which
    had also resulted in evacuation orders for residents of hundreds of
    homes in the Sage area. All were allowed to return by Monday
    morning, said CDF spokesman Jim Boano.
    Authorities said a target shooter who started the fire was cited
    and may have to pay costs of fighting the fire. Donald Brandon, 41,
    of San Diego, was released Saturday and the case has been referred
    to prosecutors, said Capt. Rick Vogt, a spokesman for the
    California Department of Forestry.
    Elsewhere, firefighters continued to make steady progress
    against the massive Pine Fire that has been burning about 45 miles
    north of Los Angeles since July 12, threatening spotted owl and
    California Condor habitat.
    The fire was 90 percent contained Monday evening after scorching
    17,400 acres and destroying three homes and 12 outbuildings. Full
    containment is expected by Friday. About 600 firefighters were
    battling the blaze, which authorities say was caused by arson.
    Funeral services were held Monday for fire Capt. Daniel Elkins,
    47, who was killed in a traffic accident July 13 as he drove home
    from the fire line.
    In Yosemite National Park, the lightning-sparked wildfire that
    has closed a number of trails was being allowed to grow on one
    front but was otherwise mostly contained, park officials said. The
    blaze has burned across more than 3,800 acres.
    Fire information officer Marty O'Toole said officials were
    trying to keep smoke to a minimum to minimize its impact on
    visibility and visitors' health.
    In San Diego County, a nearly 9,000-acre fire was extinguished
    Sunday afternoon and a 92-acre fire was fully contained Sunday
    night.


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  8. #108
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    ACTON, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire in northern Los Angeles County
    prompted the evacuation of 175 homes as it spread rapidly through
    desert brush toward stands of dead trees.
    The fire burned out of control across more than 5,000 acres
    after erupting Tuesday, even as California firefighters gained the
    upper hand on two other large wildfires.
    The fire in northern Los Angeles County destroyed a mobile home,
    an abandoned house and a bridge, said county fire Inspector Mike
    McCormick. No injuries were reported.
    Winds gusting up to 25 mph pushed flames past ranch homes in
    Acton but the blaze moved overnight toward houses in the Little
    Rock, Bell Springs and Juniper Hills areas, McCormick said.
    "See all the smoke? My home is right up there," said Cristal
    Herron, 42, who fled her home Tuesday and waited nervously with her
    13-year-old daughter.
    Three Angeles National Forest roads were closed indefinitely,
    including a popular commuter route from the growing Antelope Valley
    to Los Angeles.
    Temperatures reaching the high 90s and brush left dry after
    years of drought helped fuel a series of southern California fires
    in the past week. Threatened communities have so far avoided the
    large-scale loss of homes that occurred during wildfires last fall,
    but officials warned that the fire season is young.
    "A lot of us are looking at each other and saying 'Wait a
    minute, it's mid-July and this is happening,"' said Angeles
    National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea. "The multiple large
    fires with this behavior, we usually only see after Aug. 1, and
    mostly in October when the Santa Ana winds are blowing."
    About 900 firefighters were on the lines for the fire, which
    burned through grass, brush and pinon, juniper and Joshua trees. It
    was headed deeper into national forest lands full of densely
    packed, dead conifers.
    Elsewhere, a 6,000-acre fire near Santa Clarita was 81 percent
    contained and a 17,418-acre fire near Lake Hughes was 95 percent
    contained after it destroyed three homes and a dozen outbuildings.
    All residents evacuated from those areas were allowed to return
    home.
    Firefighters contained a blaze in Riverside County and made
    progress against a 1,600-acre fire in central California's
    Stanislaus County.
    In Yosemite National Park, a lightning-sparked wildfire spread
    across more than 4,219 acres and was being allowed to grow on one
    front.
    In Alaska, firefighters were battling a 484,000-acre fire on the
    outskirts of Fairbanks. Heavy smoke continued to hamper efforts to
    use airplanes to douse the flames, and those conditions were not
    expected to change this week. The blaze was considered 20 percent
    contained.
    Wildfires already have burned 3.6 million acres in Alaska, which
    has been having one of its worst seasons in years.

    APTV 07-21-04 0455EDT
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    Post July 21st

    ACTON, Calif. (AP) - The latest of Los Angeles County's large
    wildfires slowed and turned into the Mojave Desert late Wednesday
    as the threat to hundreds of homes subsided.
    Hundreds of residents evacuated as the Crown Fire spread across
    8,900 acres in less than 24 hours were allowed to return home,
    though people were kept out of several dozen homes that remained in
    the path of flames.
    The blaze was the third huge fire in and around the Angeles
    National Forest and the latest in a series of major blazes that
    have erupted in California unusually early in the year.
    "What we're experiencing here in Southern California is pretty
    much unprecedented," said Jody Noiron, forest supervisor for the
    Angeles National Forest.
    Firefighters caught a break Wednesday as a wind shift pushed the
    Crown Fire back onto itself and away from heavy fuels, said county
    fire Capt. Dennis Cross.
    "It's in the sand, the rock, the dirt, that type of terrain,
    which makes it easier for us to get a line around it," Cross said.
    "It's significantly laying down. ... The threat has subsided."
    Containment was estimated at 30 percent. Officials twice
    estimated that about 10,000 acres had burned, but the figures were
    later revised downward. Two homes and a bridge were destroyed
    Tuesday.
    About 2,400 firefighters, including seven who suffered minor
    injuries, battled the blaze in dry brush and timber about 50 miles
    north of Los Angeles. Firefighters were being released from the
    lines overnight, Cross said.
    The fire, propelled by winds gusting up to 25 mph, had moved
    during the day toward an area of scattered homes in the desert-area
    communities of Little Rock and Bell Springs.
    National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea said investigators
    determined that the Crown Fire was human-caused. "Whether or not
    it was intentional or accidental is still under investigation," he
    said.
    It was the only one of the three county blazes still threatening
    any damage.
    The Foothill Fire, near Santa Clarita, was fully contained after
    burning across 6,060 acres since Saturday. The Pine Fire, which
    covered 17,418 acres and destroyed three homes near Lake Hughes
    since July 12, was also fully contained.
    County health officials advised nearby residents to limit
    exposure to smoke-filled air by avoiding prolonged, strenuous
    exercise.
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it had
    approved the use of federal funds to help pay the costs of fighting
    the Crown Fire, the fifth approval granted to California by FEMA
    this week.
    Elsewhere in California, the San Joaquin River National Wildlife
    Refuge fire was 95 percent contained at 1,500 acres, according to
    Peter Kelly, fire management officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
    Service.
    In Yosemite National Park, a 4,250-acre lightning-sparked
    wildfire was being allowed to grow on one front but was otherwise
    mostly contained, park officials said.
    In Santa Barbara County, all but a handful of firefighters were
    released from lines at a 300-acre blaze near Jalama Beach County
    Park. The fire was 90 percent contained with full containment
    expected Thursday morning.

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    LOS ANGELES (AP) - A third major wildfire burning north of Los
    Angeles swelled to 10,000 acres Wednesday, threatening hundreds of
    homes on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
    It was the third large fire in and around the Angeles National
    Forest and the latest in a series of blazes that have raged across
    California unusually early in the year.
    "What we're experiencing here in Southern California is pretty
    much unprecedented," said Jody Noiron, forest supervisor for the
    Angeles National Forest.
    Six hundred homes were evacuated, but residents of all but about
    30 were allowed to return by Wednesday evening, national forest
    spokesman Stanton Florea said. Two homes and a bridge were
    destroyed Tuesday.
    Officials said the fire was 40 percent contained after growing
    to 10,000 acres in less than 24 hours.
    More than 2,300 firefighters battled the blaze in dry brush and
    timber about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, county fire Capt.
    Anthony Penn said.
    The fire, propelled by winds gusting up to 25 mph, was moving
    toward an area of scattered homes in three desert communities.
    Firefighters were watching the flames closely because the area
    is thick with thousands of dead juniper and pine trees that were
    ravaged by six years of drought and an infestation of bark beetles.
    "We have things packed and ready to go," Kathy Covington,
    whose home was in the path of the approaching flames, told KCAL-TV.
    Three national forest roads were closed indefinitely, including
    a popular commuter route from the growing Antelope Valley to Los
    Angeles.
    The cause of the fire was unknown.
    Hot, dry weather has helped spread a series of Southern
    California fires in the past week. Threatened communities have so
    far avoided the large-scale loss of homes that occurred during
    wildfires last fall, but officials warned that the fire season is
    young.
    "A lot of us are looking at each other and saying 'Wait a
    minute, it's mid-July and this is happening,"' said Angeles
    National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea. "The multiple large
    fires with this behavior, we usually only see after Aug. 1, and
    mostly in October when the Santa Ana winds are blowing."
    Elsewhere in the countryside north of Los Angeles, a 6,000-acre
    fire near Santa Clarita was 95 percent contained, as was a
    17,418-acre fire near Lake Hughes that destroyed three homes and a
    dozen outbuildings. All evacuees had been allowed to return home.
    In Alaska, crews were battling a 484,000-acre fire on the
    outskirts of Fairbanks.
    The blaze was considered 20 percent contained, but more fires
    were igniting. Lightning strikes had touched off eight fires since
    Monday, and one blaze north of Fairbanks had spread from 80 acres
    on Monday to 4,500 acres Wednesday.
    Wind cleared away a smoke cloud that had been hanging over
    Fairbanks, a day after city officials issued a warning for children
    and the elderly to stay inside.
    Wildfires already have burned 3.6 million acres in Alaska, which
    has been having one of its worst seasons in years.
    ---
    Associated Press Writer Matt Volz contributed to this report
    from Anchorage, Alaska.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 07-21-04 2343EDT
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    Post July 22nd

    ACTON, Calif. (AP) - The hot, dry weather that has gripped
    Southern California for more than a week turned friendlier to
    firefighters Thursday, helping them rein in a blaze that had
    threatened nearly 200 homes.
    The 11,816-acre Crown Fire had destroyed two homes and a
    historic wood bridge 50 miles north of Los Angeles before the wind
    changed direction and blew the blaze back on itself and toward open
    desert. It was 80 percent contained.
    But as firefighters were making progress in north Los Angles
    County, a new fire erupted to the east in Riverside County.
    The Citrus Fire near Hemet grew to 500 acres and forced road
    closures as it briefly threatened several homes, said Rick Griggs,
    a county fire engineer.
    Firefighters used bulldozers to dig lines around half of the
    blaze and winds were dying late Thursday as the fire was 50 percent
    contained.
    "We're getting some pretty good cooperation from the weather,"
    he said.
    Three of the 350 firefighters battling the blaze suffered
    injuries. One was treated at a hospital for moderate burns to the
    face and the other two suffered heat exhaustion.
    Also Thursday afternoon, a 40-acre blaze flared up a hill in
    Poway in northern San Diego County, but firefighters controlled it
    within several hours.
    Meanwhile, the Martin Fire that erupted late Wednesday near
    Temecula had burned across 135 acres by Thursday. It was 75 percent
    contained late Thursday with full containment expected by Friday
    morning.
    Two other large fires that raged earlier in the week were fully
    contained. The Foothill Fire blackened 6,060 acres near the Los
    Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita, and the Pine Fire scorched 17,418
    acres and destroyed three homes near Lake Hughes.
    About 2,400 firefighters battled the Crown Fire, which began
    Tuesday on the edge of the Mojave Desert and was no longer a threat
    to homes. Eight people suffered minor injuries.
    Angeles National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea said the blaze
    was human-caused, but investigators have not determined whether it
    was intentional or accidental.

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    Post New Blaze

    BC-Wildfires,0337
    New southern California wildfire erupts as larger ones subside
    HEMET, Calif. (AP) - Just as firefighters were getting a handle
    on one large blaze north of Los Angeles, a new wildfire ignited
    roughly 50 miles to the west, spreading across nearly 800 acres.
    The latest fire, in Riverside County, forced road closures as it
    briefly threatened several homes, said Rick Griggs, a county fire
    engineer. The fire was 50 percent contained late Thursday night,
    and firefighters hoped to have it surrounded by Friday morning.
    It erupted Thursday in brush and grass along hills near the
    community of Fairview, but winds were slow and accessible terrain
    allowed use of bulldozers to dig lines. "We're getting some pretty
    good cooperation from the weather," Griggs said.
    Three of the more than 400 firefighters battling the blaze
    suffered injuries. One was treated at a hospital for moderate burns
    to the face and the other two suffered heat exhaustion.
    Meanwhile, firefighters were being released from the lines at a
    fire at the edge of the Mojave Desert in northern Los Angeles
    County. The 11,816-acre blaze destroyed two homes and a historic
    wood bridge, but was 80 percent contained.
    About 2,400 firefighters battled the human-caused fire. Eight
    people suffered minor injuries.
    Earlier in the week, firefighters fully contained the two fires
    in northern Los Angeles County.
    Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Mike McCormick said Thursday
    that the early series of blazes indicates "we've got a long summer
    ahead of us."
    "These are the conditions: hot, dry, low humidity and windy,"
    he said. "So we'll just try to get some rest then go out and do it
    again."
    In Alaska, seven firefighters were hurt Thursday when a tracked
    vehicle rolled as it transported a crew to a more than 485,000-acre
    fire north of Fairbanks. Four were taken to a hospital by
    helicopter and three others were taken by ground transport; five of
    those were released.

    APTV 07-23-04 0431EDT
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    Post

    SOURCE: KABC/Los Angeles, CA (ABC)
    DRIVE/DAY: G Tuesday

    INFORMATION:
    The high fire danger this summer has forced officials to close low-lying areas
    of California's San Bernardino National Forest. It involves thousands of acres
    stretching from Wrightwood to the San Rosa wilderness near Palm Springs.

    The area that is closed off in the San Bernardino National Forest is basically
    very steep, very brushy, very dusty and not very popular this time of year.
    Campgrounds are open in the San Bernardino National Forest and the Angeles
    National Forest. But there are very strict fire restrictions in place.

    The fire danger is high. That's why the U-S Forest Service is restricting the
    use of flames in picnic areas and campgrounds.

    After the recent fires the Forest Service had no choice but to implement the
    restrictions. The fires burnt thousands of acres and there are thousands of
    acres of dry brush left.

    If the fire season gets any worse the Forest Service will close the campgrounds
    and picnic areas through the remainder of the fire season. Fire season runs
    until November or whenever the first rains come.

    Visitors to the area that ignore the fire warnings and are busted for having an
    open fire, could face up to five-thousand-dollars in fines and possible jail
    time.
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    Post August 8th

    HEMET, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters on Sunday battled to contain
    several wildfires that blackened thousands of acres and forced
    scores of people to evacuate their homes.
    A new fire moved rapidly through thick brush in Riverside
    County, charring 350 acres and triggering evacuations as it
    threatened an unknown number of houses in the tiny desert community
    of Anza, about 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Residents
    scrambled to protect their property.
    "When the flames are 50 feet from this house, we'll kick the
    buckets of water on the roof and walk away," said James Johnson,
    whose brother's home was in the path of the flames.
    Johnson and others in the area reached by phone said the fire
    started on the nearly 900-acre campus of Trinity Children and
    Family Services, which houses troubled youth.
    About 300 firefighters and nine aircraft battled the blaze in
    heat that reached 112 degrees. It was 75 percent contained Sunday
    night.
    Nearly 700 firefighters converged on another blaze in the
    Angeles National Forest that had burned 1,330 acres near the Los
    Angeles suburb of Castaic and destroyed two outbuildings.
    The firefighters faced temperatures of nearly 100 degrees. The
    fire, reported Saturday afternoon, was fully contained late Sunday.
    The cause remained under investigation.
    On Saturday, the fire briefly threatened a mobile home park, but
    residents using garden hoses kept it at bay. They were evacuated
    but allowed to return after the flames passed. No homes were
    threatened Sunday, said Dianne Cahir, a U.S. Forest Service
    spokeswoman.
    Firefighters expected to extinguish the remains of three
    Northern California wildfires that began Friday and consumed more
    than 4,000 acres near Angels Camp, about 110 miles east of San
    Francisco.
    The largest blaze charred more than 3,400 acres near
    Copperopolis, apparently sparked by a mechanical problem with a
    passing car. It forced the evacuation of about 210. It was 90
    percent contained Sunday.
    A fire near Avery was 65 percent contained after destroying two
    homes and charring nearly 900 acres. The third blaze had covered
    less than 100 acres and was 90 percent contained. Causesf the
    blazes had not been determined.

    APTV 08-08-04 2338EDT
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    Post August 17th

    FRENCH GULCH, Calif. (AP) - A northern California wildfire that
    destroyed 22 homes and two businesses in this historic gold mining
    town grew to nearly 10,000 acres Tuesday, but evacuated residents
    were able to return home.
    The fire, burning about 140 miles northwest of Sacramento, had
    moved north of French Gulch and was 25 percent contained.
    Firefighters did not expect to fully contain the flames until
    Friday.
    Evacuated families returned to town while utility crews sought
    to restore electricity and telephone service.
    Two walls of flame roared through the community of 150 homes on
    Saturday, destroying one-sixth of its buildings. Firefighters
    managed to save an 1885-era hotel on the National Register of
    Historic Places, a school and the post office.
    U.S. Forest Service spokesman Louis Haynes said the fire
    continues to burn into a heavily forested area with no homes.
    Firefighters have not yet determined a cause for the blaze,
    which has cost $3.5 million to fight. More than 2,700 firefighters
    were battling the flames with 223 engines, 41 helicopters and 45
    water tankers.
    In central Washington state, firefighters continued to battle a
    fierce fire near Dryden, about 85 miles east of Seattle. More than
    325 homes had been evacuated, and authorities Tuesday warned
    residents of 234 more houses they might have to leave if the flames
    grow.
    Lightning ignited 18 new fires in the Okanogan and Wenatchee
    national forests, but most were small and did not threaten any
    buildings.
    The thunderstorms brought heavy rain that caused three
    mudslides, temporarily trapping 65 people and their vehicles on a
    highway near North Cascades National Park. Crews were able to open
    a single lane to traffic early Tuesday.
    ---
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    Post September 6th evening update

    GEYSERVILLE, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters battled erratic winds
    and very low humidity Monday, making slow gains on a fire that had
    burned more than 12,000 acres in the California wine country.
    The Sonoma County fire has been feeding on tinder-dry brush,
    unpredictable wind patterns, and air so dry that even at night
    there is no real increase in moisture, said Janet Marshall,
    spokeswoman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire
    Protection.
    A marine layer of moist air was expected in the area Tuesday
    morning, which will help the firefighters control the blaze.
    "Today was pretty much make or break. We got through it so
    far," Marshall said. "If we get through the dry night, we can
    exhale tomorrow morning. If all goes well, we'll reach the
    cautiously optimistic stage."
    The fire, started Friday northeast of Geyserville, was 35
    percent contained as of about 5 p.m. Monday. Full containment of
    the fire, which is burning through terrain that is very uneven and
    often very steep, is not expected until Wednesday morning, Marshall
    said. The fire had burned 12,193 acres of land.
    Four homes, eight outbuildings and 12 cars have been destroyed,
    and about 40 residents have been evacuated from the area, about 60
    miles north of San Francisco. That includes evacuations ordered for
    six homes in the upper Dry Creek Road area on Monday morning,
    Marshall said.
    Anyone living nearby has been urged to have evacuation plans in
    place. Still threatened by the flames were 200 houses, five
    businesses and 60 outbuildings.
    Four firefighters sustained minor injuries Monday, raising the
    injury total to six. None of the injuries are critical. The
    unpredictable winds and very dry vegetation make the situation very
    dangerous for the 2,621 personnel on the scene, Marshall said. The
    cost of fighting the fire had reached $3.3 million Monday night.
    "These are very erratic winds, which can be blowing
    perpendicular to one another," she said. "You never know where
    they're coming from, and that's a huge safety concern for
    firefighters."
    The Geysers, the world's largest geothermal power facility, has
    major power lines from 21 generating plants crossing over rugged
    terrain near the fire, and that creates the possibility of
    blackouts, said Kent Robertson, a spokesman for Calpine Corp.
    In San Diego County, firefighters put out a brush fire that
    consumed 65 acres in the San Pasqual Valley.
    Several homes had been threatened, but no structures were
    damaged, a CDF dispatcher said.
    In Northern California, another fire has been burning through
    the rugged hills of Amador County since Sunday afternoon. That fire
    forced officials to divert some aircraft from the Sonoma County
    fire, Marshall said.
    Fire officials said the Amador County burn was 50 percent
    contained, and hadn't spread beyond 104 acres by Monday afternoon.
    Some of the local residents who had been evacuated were being
    allowed back into their homes, said Terry Eastwood, a fire captain
    for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He
    did not know exactly how many had been evacuated from the area.
    That fire should be contained by Tuesday morning, Eastwood said,
    though the hot dry winds and the hilly terrain, covered by
    tinder-dry wood and brush, make the work difficult.
    A burning motor home had sparked another fire on Friday night,
    which spread quickly among the Sierra Nevada foothills of Calaveras
    County, destroying 13 homes and 45 outbuildings.
    The 2,676-acre fire forced the evacuation of 3,000 people,
    mostly from rural subdivisions, before it was contained Sunday
    evening.
    ---
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    Post Sept. 7th

    GEYSERVILLE, Calif. (AP) - An infusion of fresh manpower helped
    firefighters gain the upper hand Tuesday on a wildfire that had
    burned across more than 12,500 acres and destroyed four homes in
    Northern California's wine country.
    Cooler, moist air that had been forecast for the region failed
    to materialize during the night, but the extra personnel more than
    compensated for the poor weather, said Janet Marshall, spokeswoman
    for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
    With more than 2,600 firefighters on the front lines, up from
    1,110 a day earlier, officials said the blaze in Sonoma and Lake
    counties was 85 percent contained Tuesday morning, up from just 35
    percent the night before.
    "There is a saying that many hands make light work, and while
    this certainly isn't light work, the extra help has allowed us to
    make great strides and progress," Marshall said.
    Full containment of the fire, in uneven and often steep terrain,
    was not expected until Wednesday, she said.
    Meanwhile, a fiery crash on Interstate 15 sparked a new blaze in
    Southern California that spread across 650 acres in the San
    Bernardino National Forest, prompting the evacuation of about 500
    people from scattered ranch homes, said forest spokeswoman Robin
    Renteria.
    The fire was 25 percent contained by Tuesday evening; there were
    no reports of damage or injuries.
    The northern California blaze started Friday about 60 miles
    north of San Francisco and has fed on tinder-dry brush, with flames
    driven by dry, unpredictable wind. Authorities initially were
    concerned that the fire would threaten the vineyard area of
    Sonoma's Alexander Valley, but the fire shifted directions from
    south to east. The vineyards aren't considered threatened now,
    Marshall said.
    In addition to the four vacation homes, the fire had destroyed
    eight outbuildings and an electrical equipment storage vault owned
    by a local utility, Marshall said. About 40 residents had been
    evacuated.
    Seven firefighters were injured.
    State officials gave Calpine Corp. and Pacific Gas & Electric
    Co. permission Tuesday to fire up major power lines through the
    area that had been shut down to prevent injuries to firefighters,
    Marshall said.
    ---
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    Post Sept 14th

    CAMPO, Calif. (AP) - A brush fire in eastern San Diego County
    has shut down highway 94 and prompted some evacuations this
    afternoon.
    The California Department of Forestry says the fire started
    about eleven a-m on the Mexican side of the border near Tecate. It
    has burned about 1,000 acres on the U-S side of the border, and 500
    acres in Mexico.
    C-D-F spokesman Matt Streck says a few structures are
    threatened, and people are being evacuated in an area between
    Canyon City and Campo.
    The San Diego County Sheriff's Department says residents trying
    to leave the area are advised to head east, not (NOT) west. A
    campground in the area also is being evacuated.
    The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Campo
    Community Center.
    Highway 94 is closed to traffic at Forest Gate Road West to the
    Tecate Port of Entry turnoff.
    About 300 firefighters are on the scene. They are supported by
    four air tankers and six helicopters.
    The cause of the fire has not been determined.
    Mexican firefighters in Tecate say their crews are fighting the
    fire on their side of the border but no other information was yet
    available.

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    Post October 6th

    Wildfire burns in rugged Northern California area

    JACKSON (AP) - A wildfire broke out today (Wednesday) in a
    rugged canyon about 25 miles from the Sierra Nevada foothill town
    of Jackson, burning about 200 acres and creating a huge plume of
    smoke visible for miles.
    Joyce Pratt, information officer for the Eldorado National
    Forest, says the fire started near Salt Springs Reservoir and
    spread quickly, fanned by winds. Cause of the blaze was unknown.
    About 220 firefighters were able to get a line around nearly a
    third of the fire by this evening. Pratt says several air tankers
    are scheduled to attack the blaze tomorrow.
    Smoke from the fire spread eastward into the Sierra and was
    noticeable as far away as Nevada's Carson Valley, some 60 miles
    away.


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    Post

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted a
    hunter who allegedly started the largest wildfire in California
    history.
    Sergio Martinez, 34, was indicted on one count each of setting
    timber on fire and making a false statement to a federal officer.
    Each charge carries a maximum five years in prison.
    The 2003 blaze, called the Cedar fire, killed 15 people,
    destroyed more than 2,000 homes and charred 273,000 acres from the
    mountains east of San Diego into the nation's seventh-largest city.
    The blaze began Oct. 25 in the Cleveland National Forest after
    Martinez became lost on a deehunting trip and lit a fire at dusk,
    according to the county sheriff's department. The fire, driven by
    Santa Ana winds, then swept through tinder-dry brush and trees.
    On the night of the blaze, the Forest Service issued Martinez a
    misdemeanor citation for setting an unauthorized fire. He was
    released with a warning that he could face felony charges if people
    were injured or homes destroyed.
    Asked what held up the indictment for nearly a year, Assistant
    U.S. Attorney Michael Lasater said officials had conducted "a
    thorough investigation."
    Jose Martinez, the Los Angeles-based lawyer representing the
    defendant, declined to immediately comment. Sergio Martinez could
    not be reached for comment. Martinez is to be arraigned Thursday in
    federal court, where a judge will decide if he should be taken into
    custody, Lasater said.
    The indictment carries special allegations that Martinez's
    actions caused more than $400 million damage and 14 deaths,
    including one firefighter. The San Diego Medical Examiner's office
    later determined an unidentified man found in a drainage ditch was
    the fire's 15th victim.
    Martinez was severely dehydrated when sheriff's deputies,
    responding by helicopter to a call of a lost hunter, found him
    waving from the top of a small mountain as nearby flames shot 10
    feet into the air.
    The indictment said Martinez lied about starting the fire, and
    prosecutors declined to provide details. Sheriff's Deputy Dave
    Weldon told The Associated Press last year Martinez denied setting
    the fire, but then apologized. "He kept apologizing and looking at
    the fire," Weldon said.

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    Post October 12th

    LAKE BERRYESSA, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire fueled by dry brush
    grew to nearly 30,000 acres Tuesday and prompted the voluntary
    evacuation of a remote community near Lake Berryessa in northern
    California.
    Swirling winds wreaked havoc on fire lines throughout the day,
    sending ash drifting onto the Napa Valley wine country town of St.
    Helena to the west and producing a smoke plume that could be seen
    as far south as San Francisco.
    The fire burned through trees, brush and dry grass in a steep
    and remote region of Napa and Yolo counties before reaching the
    edge of Lake Berryessa's northeast shoreline Tuesday. On its way,
    it destroyed a fire lookout east of the lake on 3,057-foot
    Berryessa Peak.
    Fire officials issued a voluntary evacuation for Lake Berryessa
    Estates, a community of 75 near the lake's northwest shore.
    Evacuees were being sent to a nearby school.
    Despite the fire's spread, no other structures were lost and no
    injuries reported, a fire spokeswoman said.
    The blaze began Sunday evening near the Yolo County farming
    community of Rumsey before spreading to nearby hills. Officials
    believe the fire was intentionally caused and are investigating.

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    LAKE BERRYESSA, Calif. (AP) - Diminishing winds are helping
    California firefighters take a big step toward control of a
    37-thousand-acre wildfire northeast of San Frcisco.
    The fire is now considered 45 percent contained, up from just
    five percent early Wednesday. Fire officials say full containment
    is expected by Saturday night.
    The fire, burning in Napa and Yolo counties near Lake Berryessa,
    prompted the voluntary evacuation of a community of 75 homes.
    A smoke plume could be seen as far south as the San Francisco
    Bay area, where air quality warnings were issued.
    The blaze began Sunday evening near the a farming community
    before spreading to nearby hills. Investigators believe the fire
    had been set.
    ---
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    Lost hunter ordered to pay $18 million for sparking wildfire

    REDDING, Calif. (AP) - A lost hunter who started a forest fire
    in northern California while trying to keep warm has been ordered
    to pay more than 18 (m) million dollars in restitution.
    The fire in the Mendocino National Forest burned more than
    six-thousand acres and cost 33 (m) million dollars to suppress. The
    restitution covers the U-S Forest Service's cost of fighting the
    fire and restoring the burned area.
    Prosecutors say 26-year-old Jason Hoskey lit a campfire when he
    got lost hunting on September 27th, 2003. The fire spread after he
    fell asleep.
    Flames had been banned in the area because of extreme fire
    danger. Prosecutors say Hoskey also violated the ban by smoking
    several cigarettes.
    Hoskey pleaded no contest in September to a federal misdemeanor.
    Hoskey is also banned from the Mendocino National Forest for
    five years.


    APTV 02-24-05 0120EST
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  24. #124
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    SACRAMENTO (AP) - When wildfire strikes in California - as it
    did to devastating effect across the southern part of the state two
    years ago - federal, state and local governments throw everything
    they have into stopping the flames.
    Yet that multiagency cooperative approach creates its own
    problems in dividing up responsibility and costs that can quickly
    top $1 million a day, the state legislative analyst's office said
    Tuesday.
    State and local costs in California are increasing by tens of
    millions of dollars, much of it in planned overtime and an increase
    in overtime compensation that kicks in this year under a 2001
    contract with union firefighters, the nonpartisan office found.
    Firefighters now work three 24-hour shifts each week, or 72
    hours, during fire season. But under federal law, overtime begins
    after 53 hours, so they routinely are paid 19 hours of overtime.
    That will cost the state nearly $47 million extra for the fiscal
    year beginning in July. The cost will jump another $37 million a
    year in July 2006, when firefighters will begin working the 24-hour
    shifts year-round instead of just during the fire season.
    Much of that added cost hasn't been well known, and legislators
    need more information on the full impact, the analyst said.
    Previous attention has focused mostly on a lucrative contract
    similarly negotiated by recalled Gov. Gray Davis with the powerful
    California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
    Legislators should consider renegotiating the firefighters'
    contract, the report recommends, while the agency should examine
    whether it is cheaper to hire more firefighters instead of relying
    on planned overtime. Key legislators and their consultants said
    they hadn't reviewed the report Tuesday.
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration tried to renegotiate
    the contract a year ago without success, because there was no
    incentive for the union to give up any benefits, the analyst noted.
    Jim Wright, chief of fire protection for the California
    Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said no renegotiation
    efforts are planned, though the department is considering whether
    it is worth hiring more firefighters.
    Terry McHale, who handles public policy for CDF Firefighters,
    said the contract means his union's members work a third more hours
    than municipal firefighters because they work more frequent 24-hour
    shifts.
    "It's a great deal for the state," even at the higher contract
    cost, McHale said.
    When the planned overtime kicks in year-round it will increase a
    typical firefighter's regular compensation by 42 percent, the
    analyst found. That's also making it more difficult for the state
    to promote chiefs from the rank-and-file, because the pay gap
    between supervisors and firefighters is narrowed. And it will
    ultimately drive up retirement benefits and costs to the state.
    Local governments that contract with the state for fire
    protection will pay more, too, because they must reimburse the
    state for its help in fighting their fires. The contract change is
    costing local governments about $9 million more this year and $22
    million next year, the analyst said.
    Labor costs account for roughly half of firefighting costs. Base
    pay increases and a 15 percent increase in the number of state
    firefighters in the last six years has boosted base costs about $46
    million a year higher than six years ago.
    The state's annual firefighting cost has varied between $400
    million and $500 million annually the last five years, but spiked
    to $612 million last fiscal year with the devastating Southern
    California wildfires.
    It's projected to drop to about $522 million for this fiscal
    year ending June 30. But spending has been rising about 10 percent
    annually with labor costs, more residential movement into what had
    been uninhabited wildlands, and to combat sickly forests,
    particularly in Southern California.
    To compensate, the report recommended lawmakers consider
    reinstituting a fire protection fee on property owners that would
    have raised $40 million had it not been repealed before it took
    effect this year.
    The department now employs about 2,000 year-round firefighters
    and another 740 seasonal firefighters, plus 1,700 state employees
    paid for by local governments. That doesn't include 198 inmate fire
    crews scattered at camps around the state.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Arrow Update-Steven Rucker

    NOVATO, Calif. (AP) - Novato Fire Chief Jeff Meston is sharing
    concerns from a state report that said a manmade fire designed to
    clear brush around homes might have played a role in the death of
    Novato firefighter Steven Rucker in October 2003.
    According to a report released late last week by the California
    Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, that backfire "likely
    caused a minor but potentially significant decrease in the amount
    of time available to react to the changing conditions."
    Rucker died after stumbling and falling on a concrete path as
    fire engulfed a ridge-top home near the rural San Diego County town
    of Wynola.
    "If you were to really look at it, that (man-made fire) brought
    fire to where our guys were a minute or two (sooner)," Meston
    said. "When seconds counted in this event, that could be huge."
    Novato Capt. Doug McDonald was seriously hurt in the fire. The
    other members of the Novato crew, firefighter paramedic Barrett
    Smith and engineer Shawn Kreps, suffered minor injuries. The men,
    members of Engine Co. 6162, were overcome by the blaze while trying
    to save a home in 2003, the most destructive wildfire year ever in
    California, with more than 4,000 homes destroyed.
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