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November 17, 2008

California wildfires (yet again)

Several wildfires raged throughout Southern California this weekend, in the hills surrounding Los Angeles, burning some 35,000 acres (55 sq mi) and destroying around 1,000 homes as California's Fire Season extends toward becoming a year-round condition. Dry Santa Ana winds of up to 70 mph drove flames and embers across valleys and into neighborhoods, in some cases burning only a few homes, in others, wiping out entire communities. Most of the fires are contained now - the causes still under investigation. Fortunately, few injuries and no deaths have been reported, as some 50,000 evacuees begin returning to their homes to assess the damage. (35 photos total)

A firefighting helicopter flies through a smoke-filled sky over the Pacific Ocean at sunset as firefighters try to gain control of the Tea Fire on November 14, 2008 in Montecito, California. Thirteen people were injured and more than 100 homes destroyed in the first few hours as evening Sundowner Winds reached 70 mph, pushing the wildfire into multi-million dollar ocean-view homes last night. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Some homes burn, while neighboring homes are spared during a wildfire in Yorba Linda, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) #

A California Department of Forestry air tanker flies over dozens of homes destroyed by a wildfire which swept through Montecito, Calif., near Santa Barbara Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) #

Most of the homes in the Oakridge mobile home park, which reportedly had 600-800 homes, lie in ruins after burning in the Sylmar Fire on November 15, 2008 in Sylmar, California. The fire began last night and was fueled to more than 2,600 acres by strong erratic winds in excess of 70 miles per hour which kept firefighting aircraft grounded in the morning. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

The glow of a wildfire is seen as it draws close to house on November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. Strong Santa Ana Winds are destroying hundreds of homes and charring thousands of acres around southern California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A firefighter looks on as most of the homes in the Oakridge mobile home park burn in the Sylmar Fire on November 15, 2008 in Sylmar, California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

Los Angeles firefighters advance a hose line as they fight a wildfire, Saturday Nov. 15, 2008 in northern Los Angeles. The blaze started Friday night and has burned more than 2,600 acres, prompting mandatory evacuations. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows) #

Residents watch as fire comes close to their homes on November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

Smoke from a wildfire in Montecito, Calif., settles in Santa Barbara, Friday Nov. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) #

A firefighting airtanker drops Phos-Check fire retardant just before sunset in one of its final drops of the day to try to control the eastern flank of Tea Fire before the winds might return on November 14, 2008 in Montecito, California. Thirteen people were injured and more than 100 homes destroyed in the first few hours as evening Sundowner Winds reached 70 mph, pushing the wildfire into multi-million dollar ocean-view homes the night before. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

Large flames are blown from a burning home by strong winds as most of the homes in the Oakridge mobile home park lie in ruins after burning in the Sylmar Fire on November 15, 2008 in Sylmar, California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A truck in the driveway and two cars in the garage go up in flames as a wildfire burns homes in Yorba Linda, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery) #

An air tanker flies over the edge of a wildfire in Yorba Linda, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) #

Smoke fills the sky from a wildfire in Yorba Linda, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) #

A melted rim from a burned vehicle is seen as firefighters work to contain a wildfire fuelled by strong winds in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles November 15, 2008. (REUTERS/Phil McCarten) #

A helicopter makes a water drop as firefighters work to contain a wildfire which has destroyed over 100 homes in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara County, California November 14, 2008. (REUTERS/Phil McCarten) #

Homes burn during a wildfire in Yorba Linda, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) #

Firefighters are covered with red Phos-Check fire retardant dropped by a firefighting airtanker on the house they are protecting as wildfire closes in on November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A firefighting helicopter dips into a water reservoir as to pick up a load of water during wildfire fighting operation in Montecito, Calif., near Santa Barbara, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) #

A fire whirl comes close to homes during the Corona Fire on November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. Strong Santa Ana Winds are destroying hundreds of homes and charring thousands of acres around southern California. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

A train moves to get past a wind driven wildfire as a fire helicopter circles overhead in Yorba Linda, California November 15, 2008. (REUTERS/Mike Blake) #

A firefighter walks toward a fire November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. Strong Santa Ana winds are fanning flames throughout Southern California, destroying hundreds of homes and causing thousands to evacuate. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) #

A Los Angeles County Fire Helicopter takes off from the athletic field at Santa Barbara Junior High Thursday Nov. 13, 2008 after being refilled with a load of water. The field was set up as a staging area for all water drop helicopters fighting the fire. (AP Photo/Michael Moriatis - News Press) #

Firefighters keep a close eye on a wildfire as it approaches Carbon Canyon road near Brea, California November 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Mike Blake) #

Flames cross over a ridge occupied by high-voltage power lines near Mountain Drive and Coyote Road in Montecito, Calif. on Thursday evening, Nov. 13, 2008. A brush fire destroyed homes Thursday in the tony enclave of Montecito, forcing evacuations as gusting winds pushed the blaze further into the community that has long been a hideaway for the rich and famous. (AP Photo/The News-Press, Michael Moriatis) #

Embers fly as wildfires burn near Carbon Canyon park in Brea, California November 16, 2008. Wildfires hop-scotched around Southern California on Sunday although calmer winds slowed flames that have destroyed almost 1,000 houses, forced tens of thousands to evacuate and turned some neighborhoods into scenes resembling war zones. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni) #

An unidentified woman evacuates her home as embers blow around her during a wind driven brush fire in northern Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg) #

A firefighter and photographer jump back as a home explodes into flames during a wind driven brush fire in northern Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg) #

A firefighter works to contain a wild fire in Santa Barbara, California November 14, 2008. (REUTERS/Phil Klein) #

A huge multi-million dollar home goes up in flames as a raging wildfire swept through Montecito, Calif., outside Santa Barbara, late Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. (AP Photo.Mike Meadows) #

The ruins of nearly 500 homes destroyed by the Sylmar Fire are seen at night at the Oakridge mobile home park as part of the fire continues burning in the distant mountains on November 16, 2008 in Sylmar, California. The entire park was declared a crime scene and cadaver dogs brought in to search for victims. (David McNew/Getty Images) #

An airplane drops flame retardant as fire burns in Diamond Bar, California November 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni) #

A Coroner's Office investigator searches the Oakridge mobile home community following a wildfire fueled by strong winds in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles November 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Phil McCarten) #

A figurine is seen in the ruins of a home destroyed by fire at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles) #

A home burns with the sun seen distorted by the heat of the fire on November 15, 2008 in Yorba Linda, California. Strong Santa Ana winds were fanning flames throughout Southern California, destroying hundreds of homes and causing thousands to evacuate. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) #

 
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