Calif. Wildfires Make Dangerous Turn Toward LA

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WASHINGTON -- Raging Wildfires in California destroyed at least 53 homes in Los Angeles County, officials said Monday.

The massive wildfire moving quickly through Angeles National Forest in California doubled in size overnight and threatened 12,000 homes.

Triple-digit temperatures and low humidity caused the blaze to spread.

"It's burning everywhere," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir said. "When it gets into canyons that haven't burned in numerous years, it takes off. If you have any insight into the good Lord upstairs, put in a request."

So far 134 miles of brush have burned and firefighters working around the clock have only contained 5 percent of the flames.

The fast-moving wildfires have also claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Charred Remains
    
When Jack Kenny pulled up to his house, he saw the charred remains of what used to be his home burned completely to the ground.

"Our house... our house is gone," said Kenny. "I'm standing right there, hon. I'm right at the corner house.  The whole block is been leveled our whole block."
    
The fire has rolled through more than 71 square miles of Los Angeles County, threatening some 12,000 homes.

Firefighters are having a tough time trying to contain the fire near Mount Wilson, which doubled in size on Sunday.
    
They were hit again when the fire fight claimed two of their own.

"Two of our firefighters were in a vehicle and went over the side. Both of them suffered fatality, life-ending injuries," said Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant.
    
Close to 3,000 fire personnel around the state are working the station fire - with the help of a dozen helicopters and eight air tankers.
    
Their work is cut out for them since it's like a guessing game trying to figure out where the fire might turn next.

"These fires now are still totally out of control," said California Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger.

Many areas are under mandatory evacuation.

"All the cars are loaded pointed out prepared to leave at a moment's notice," said Calif. Resident Parker Cowgill.
    
But some residents are choosing to stay behind until the last minute.

"We just wanted to...help our neighbors, if we can," said resident Rhonda Newborg.
    
Firefighters are hoping to catch a break with the weather, but they it doesn't look like that'll come today. The forecast calls for dry, hot conditions until at least Tuesday.  

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Paul Strand

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As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.