Firefighters Make Progress While Battling California Wildfires - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Firefighters Make Progress While Battling California Wildfires

Firefighters in California are finally meeting some success in their battle against several massive wildfires.  Still, the news comes as authorities discover two burned bodies, bringing the total number of deaths believed to be connected to the fire to eight. 

Dying Santa Ana winds Thursday, have helped firefighters attack the flames from both the ground and the air.  Of the 24 major fires, authorities say half of them are now 100 percent contained.  For those returning to their neighborhoods, however, that news isn't much comfort.  

"There was a house down there," said San Diego County Resident Robert Gilson.  "There were 9 others home in this neighborhood.  My understanding is that they went in about a half hour." A satellite image captured by NASA shows just how much the flames have spread.  Thursday afternoon, more than 450 thousand acres have burned.  

Thursday, President Bush and Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the damage, which is becoming more evident as the smoke clears.  Since, the wildfires began last weekend, 1,500 homes have gone up in flames.  

"I'm fully understanding the people got a lot of anguish in their hearts, and they just need to know a lot of folks care about them," said President Bush.  

"It's completely burned," said fire victim Adrian Lucio.  "We lost everything right there.  Even my daughter's medications."  President Bush has promised federal aid to the thousands now without a home.  Those on the front line will continue the fight, whether it's battling the blazes or picking up the pieces of their lives.    

Fire investigators are now saying they suspect two of the fires were intentionally started. Despite Thursday's progress, the flames continue to threaten thousands of homes.  As the fire moves, authorities are being forced to issue new evacuation orders.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.


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