24 October 2007 (from AFP) - More than half a million people across California were ordered to evacuate as wildfires raged for a third day, destroying 1,200 homes and threatening to overwhelm firefighters.
Wind-driven infernos have so far scorched at least 135,000 hectares of tinder-dry forest and brush, making the blaze one of the worst wildfire crises in Californian history.
Local media reported that 1,200 homes had been destroyed in the fires, with a further 400 structures also razed. Some fires were so vast that they could be seen from space and smoke was so thick in the area that weather radars mistook it for rain clouds.
Envisat views of wildfires
This image - acquired over Los Angeles and San Diego, where fires have devastated the areas between these cities - shows strong winds from the east, fires in suburbs of Los Angeles and close to San Diego (lower right corner of the image).
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