California's worst fires in four years, driven by hot Santa Ana winds, tormented the San Diego area in the south. Some 1,500 homes and other structures had been destroyed by the fires as of Tuesday evening and the 500,000 people evacuated in their path. It was the largest evacuation in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.
In the San Diego area, one person was killed by wildfires on Sunday. Four other deaths were reported among the evacuees and more than three dozen people had been injured, including 18 firefighters.
Some 8,000 people, including senior citizens from nursing homes, went to the Qualcomm stadium, where the San Diego Chargers football team plays, or to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, famed for its horse racing track. Thousands of horses and family pets were also accommodated.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President George W. Bush to upgrade California's wildfires to a "major disaster," which would trigger federal help. Link
Watch the video update from Reuters: