Calif. Fire Crews Brace for Weather Change

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More than 20,000 firefighters are battling hundreds of wildfires throughout California.

They made progress containing some of the flames over the weekend taking advantage of the cooler weather - but those conditions are changing.

Firefighters took advantage of the moist, cooler ocean air to give them an edge in containing the fire racing through the mountains in Santa Barbara.

Crews cut down the brush to keep the flames from spreading and managed to get the fire that scorched 15-square miles of Los Padres National forest 30 percent contained.

Right now, firefighters have about 1,400 fires contained, but more than 300 still burn out of control.

The exhausting effort is taking a toll on California's limited personnel.

"With the fire all along California, it's not like we have a pile of fresh crews somewhere," Incident commander Mark Savage said.

The fire in the coastal community of Big Sur is only 11 percent contained; it has charred more than 100 square miles, affecting homeowners and businesses and the thousands of tourists who typically visit the area.

"We were really looking forward to seeing the coast, the coast line, the ocean and the hills around highway one," a tourist said.

The early season is also taking a toll on the state budget. Over the weekend, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a homeowners' insurance fee to help pay for the firefight.

"It is very important to know that up until recently we had a fire season. Which meant that ah, late summer throughout the fall, we had the fire season. Now there is no more fire season. There are fires all year round," he said.

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