The Golden State a’ Blaze

Carole McFaddan

Deadly fires have been charring up over 147,000 acres in Southern California, as firefighters hope for cooler temperatures. On Sunday, two firefighters lost their lives as their vehicle crashed while trying to flee fast-moving flames. The fire is burning throughout the rough terrain of the Angeles National Forest, which is just north of LA, an area that has not seen a major fire in over 60 years.

Consuming more than 62,000 acres, the Station Fire is the largest of at least five burning in the state. Although it is unclear as to what ignited the fire last week, it has destroyed over fifty structures and threatens at least 10,000 homes. Approximately 4,000 firefighters are working to maintain the blaze.

With the blaze still burning, firefighters do not expect to have the blaze fully contained until Sept. 15, leading to a chance of increased spending. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to this, saying, “I’ve made it clear that even though we have a budget crunch […] we will always have the money available to fight the fires because public safety is our No. 1 priority.”

While the governor has insisted that the state budget has a $500 million reserve for emergencies such as fires, California has already had 5,000 blazes so far this year. He also stated that 21 firefighters have been injured battling the Station fire, in addition to the two-killed Sunday and declared a state of emergency Friday.