USA — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is ordering an additional 2,000 National Guard troops to help battle wildfires around the state. President Bush also announced plans to to visit California to survey the damage from some of the 1,700 fires so far this season.
White House spokesman Trey Bohn says Bush will arrive in California on Thursday. Bohn did not say where exactly the president would be going.
Bush’s last trip to California was in January, when he attended several fundraising events in San Diego.
More than 320 active fires are burning around the state. A total of about 1,700 blazes have been sparked this season, destroying about 100 homes.
About 400 guardsmen were called in earlier this month, and more than half of them already are on the fire lines. The governor’s office says this has been the first time in more than 30 years that the National Guard has been deployed for ground-based firefighting.
The deployment has come during an unprecedented fire season that has seen the most fires burning at any one time in recorded California history. Most of the blazes began during a massive June 21 lightning storm.
Schwarzenegger says the additional troops will be trained and deployed over the next few months.