The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fog only hope for firefighters in California

Los Angeles, Oct. 30 (Reuters): Rain and incoming fog could help Californian firefighters tame voracious fires that have killed 20 people and devoured thousands of homes in their raging path.

Fire officials said the only hope they had for preventing a repeat of yesterday’s disaster on Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains was incoming fog that was expected to creep in from the ocean and envelop the mountains.

Rain and some sleet had also started falling this morning in some parts of the devastated state. “The good news is that a little too late the weather is changing on us... We will still have trouble in the higher elevations, but by tomorrow we will get higher humidity... and this will help the fire suppression effort,” said Andrea Tuttle, the head of the state’s Forestry Department.

Tuttle said that the San Bernardino Mountains, the winter playground for nearby Los Angeles, could erupt in flames of Biblical proportions because of a huge infestation of minute bark beetles which killed 70 percent of the trees around Lake Arrowhead and surrounding communities. “Lake Arrowhead is the perfect storm of factors combining to produce a really dangerous situation — three or four years of drought, a bark beetle infestation, decades of fire suppression and really widespread residential development all mixed up together,” said Jay Watson of the Wilderness Society.

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