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Look! Up in the sky…

It’s President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (and according to KRON4 TV news, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein), taking an aerial tour (Note on July 19, 2008: Yup, Senator Feinstein was there!) of the 2.1-million-acre Shasta-Trinity fire today in northern California! Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in 12 counties and called in the National Guard to help with California’s wildfires.

The President was scheduled to travel south to Napa later to deliver a speech at a political reception that is raising about $850,000 (USD) for the Republican National Committee.

Governor Schwarzenegger said that 80% of the U.S. fire resources for firefighting are employed in California. And it’s not just resources from 41 states of the U.S. that are deployed in California… In addition, some of the 25,000 firefighters have come here from Canada, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico!

About 200 injuries, including deep burns have been reported. The only firefighter death has been attributed to heart attack.

The body of a man found Friday in a burned out house in rural Butte County was identified as that of a 61-year-old who did not obey orders to evacuate. Butte County fires are now believed to be the result of arson (reported on KRON4 TV news this evening), rather than lightning, as previously believed. Some 80 homes have been destroyed by the Butte County complex of fires. My previous statement about arsonists still stands, especially arsonists like this one, who has murdered by fire. The complex of fires in Butte County is now about 80% contained after burning about 84 square miles.

Three men and a teenager trapped in a Northern California forest by approaching fires were rescued by firefighters on a closed road and treated for burns on Wednesday.

President Bush offered federal help and encouragement today.

The interactive map with fire information from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is still here.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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