Wed, Nov 05, 2003
Late Arrival Still Helpful, Appreciated
Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighting efforts in
California so much that C-130 Hercules equipped with mobile
airborne firefighting systems have been released, Pentagon
officials said. The aircraft flew back to their bases in
California, Colorado, Wyoming and North Carolina on Sunday.
By Early Monday...
Officials said that 10
of the 12 largest fires have been 80-percent contained. Local
officials estimate that the Old fire in San Bernardino County and
the Paradise fire in San Diego County are 65-percent contained. The
progress is so good that the military Joint Task Force –
Firefighting will stand down in the next day or two.
The firefighting effort continues, and officials now are
requesting surveillance aircraft to ensure the fire does not
reignite. State officials requested military Predator unmanned
aerial vehicles to aid this surveillance effort.
Residents are starting to return to the stricken areas. Many are
returning to find their homes and other structures burned to the
ground. The wildfires were the most destructive in California
history, said state officials.
The wildfires have caused as many as 20 deaths in California,
officials said. President George W. Bush declared the counties of
San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Ventura federal disaster
areas October 27.
Current news reports show fires have burned more than 3,600
structures. State officials said thousands were evacuated as the
fires approached and that the fires have burned more than 800,000
[Thanks to Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service; photo by
Senior Master Sgt. Dennis W. Goff --ed.]
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