Firefighters advance on wildfires

Sept. 17, 2007 at 9:57 AM
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JULIAN, Calif., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Firefighters advanced on dangerous wildfires in Big Bear and Julian, Calif., where thousands of people were evacuated as nearly 17,000 acres burned.

"Mother Nature really cooperated with us today," Daniel Berlant, a state forestry and fire official said Sunday, noting the fire in Julian was about 60 percent contained and the fire in Big Bear about 12 percent contained.

Berlant cautioned, however, both fires remained dangerous, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County, saying, "There is imminent danger to populated areas, including 6,000 homes and 150 businesses."

Sabine Horner, owner of a restaurant on California's Route 78, a few miles from the Julian fire, told the Times the waves of smoke in the sky reminded her of 2003's Cedar fire that killed 15 people and burned more than 300,000 acres.

"It was unnerving," Horner said. "It was like deja vu; 'oh no, not this again.' "

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