CA Firefighters Must Choose Fires to Put Out

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More than 1,400 wildfires have scorched thousands of acres of land in California, setting a new early-season record.

The fires are so widespread firefighters can't reach them all -- and the threat of more severe weather could make things worse.

With so many wildfires burning at the same time, firefighters are having to make some tough calls -- choosing which ones to take on.

"You will never know what each day will bring, what each hour is going to bring. So we try to stay cautious and optimistic and hit it hard and fast," said Laura McConnell with Incident Command.

And others they let burn for now.

Two weeks ago, with 1,200 fires burning, President Bush declared a state of emergency and offered federal help.

"The amount of fires for June is unprecedented. The type of lightning and ignition which you have been experiencing this month, normally doesn't occur until August," said Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior.

Wildfires also rage in Colorado, New Mexico and in Arizona. where a little girl escaped flames that were headed toward her neighborhood.

"I feel like we are not going to see our house again," the young evacuee said.

Fire crews are working around the clock to contain the fires. But this week's forecast warns of more storms that could bring lightning, meaning firefighters may not get a break any time soon.

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