No Holiday for California Firefighters

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Dry weather this weekend in California is threatening to make out of control wildfires even worse.

While many Americans prepare to enjoy their time off over the holiday weekend, there's no break for California firefighters battling around 1,100 wildfires across the state.

"California is stretched thin. We have requests in for additional resources, and we don't know how long we can hold on to what we have," said Chief John Scherrei with the Santa Barbara Fire Dept.

The coastal community of Big Sur sits virtually empty after officials ordered everyone to leave when the fire there got out of hand.

Some residents in other areas of the state are following suit.

"I'm packing. I'm leaving, yeah," one evacuee said.

The fires have charred about 800-square miles, destroying homes and other buildings and threatening thousands more. Making matters worse -- the weather. Dry heat is expected over the weekend, which could pave the way for even more fires.

"In the last 2-3 years, we've seen there's really no fire season anymore. It used to be late summer through fall that we have fires. But now it's all year round," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

California National Guardsmen are already fighting the fires in the air, but for the first time in three decades they're training to help exhausted firefighters on the ground.

"This is our mission. This is what we're here for. We're here for the state. to serve our state," said Sgt. Chris Kalba, one of many Calif. National Guardsmen giving Californians a little extra help in fighting the wildfire season that came early this year.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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