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Rapid Response System image showing California wildfires in October 2007. Photo: NASA
Some 9,000 separate wildfires charred more than a million acres across California during the 2007 wildfire season. About seven people died, and another 160 more were injured, including at least at least 60 firefighters.
At the peak of the wildfire activity in October 2007, the billowing smoke clouds were visible from space. Southern California’s protracted drought, hot weather and strong Santa Ana winds are contributing factors to the extreme fire conditions.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W. Bush have already declared a state of emergency in seven California counties where wildfires are burning out of control. At Lake Arrowhead, the resort town in San Bernardino Mountains, two aggressive brush fires are raging towards each other, and firefighters worry that strong winds might blow them together. Governor Schwarzenegger touched down in a helicopter to see things first hand.