SACRAMENTO, July 10 (UPI) -- California needs more federal help to battle fires that have scorched hundreds of square miles, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday.
The governor released a letter sent Wednesday to President George W. Bush, The Sacramento Bee reported.
"To date, I have ordered hundreds of California National Guardsmen to the firefighting front lines and anticipate calling up more," the governor wrote. "However, California's troops can only absorb so much of this responsibility while maintaining their ability to respond to the additional requirements of the existing fire emergency and other potential missions and emergencies."
In the Sierra foothills in Butte County, firefighters were able to hold the line against a fire that has consumed almost 50,000 acres and gutted 38 homes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. But officials warned that the fire could jump the Feather River if winds pick up and sweep through the town of Paradise.
Elsewhere, fire officials reported progress. While a blaze in the scenic Big Sur area was only 27 percent controlled, firefighters reported gaining on the fire near Goleta, saying it was at least 55 percent contained.
Since lightning bolts first ignited fires June 20, more than 1,700 blazes have destroyed about 688,000 acres in California. More than 300 fires were burning late Wednesday.
Fire officials said about 12,800 residences remained under a fire threat. So far, 99 homes have been destroyed.