USA — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked President George W. Bush todeclare a state of emergency as fires continue to burn throughout California.
State fire officials said lightning strikes last weekend sparked 1,000 blazesacross Northern California that so far have burned 302 square miles. Morelightning storms are expected this weekend.
Schwarzenegger is requesting direct federal assistance. That would includeair and ground firefighting crews, debris removal, and help evacuating andsheltering residents and animals.
Fire crews from 41 states have arrived to help California firefighters battlehundreds of blazes that are darkening skies over the Central Valley and SanFrancisco Bay area, reported KCRA-TV in Sacramento.
Schwarzenegger Won’t Order Fireworks Ban
Schwarzenegger on Friday said that he does not plan on ordering a statewide banof fireworks, reported KCRA-TV.
“Public safety is my top priority, and I want all Californians to enjoythe upcoming Fourth of July holiday, but also to celebrate it safely. I do notplan to order a statewide ban of fireworks, but I do encourage fire-affectedcounties to take a good look at their resources and take the appropriate stepsat the local level, including a fireworks ban if necessary, to protect theircommunities and prevent any further aggravation of our state’s already severefire situation,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
Meanwhile, another day of smoke-filled skies prompted advice from air-qualityofficials that people cancel or postpone outdoor activities.
“We acknowledge cancellation of these programs can be a hardship for allparticipants, and we appreciate those who have taken the step to put the healthof their participants ahead of other considerations during this extended periodof unhealthy air quality,” Sacramento County Health Officer Glennah Trochetsaid.
The threat of fire has already led communities across Northern California tonix plans for Fourth of July fireworks displays.