A massive wildfire near Los Angeles, Calif. has forced many residents to evacuate their homes.
The fire has destroyed at least 18 structures and is threatening some 12,000 homes. Mandatory evacuations are underway.
Two firefighters were killed Sunday when their vehicle rolled down a mountainside.
"Near Mt. Gleason, in the Angeles National Forest, two of our firefighters were in a vehicle and went over the side," said Mike Bryant, Los Angeles County Deputy Chief. "Both of them suffered fatality, life-ending injuries."
The nation's second largest city is under a cloud of ash as the massive wildfire burns out of control.
On Sunday, the blaze was only about five percent contained and had scorched 71 square miles in the Angeles National Forest.
Fire officials said the deadly fire is now endangering emergency communications facilities.
"These fires now are still totally out of control," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "The emergency declaration, of course, will help to cut through the red tape and free up additional resources."
Homeowners were working feverishly to protect their property.
"This, they said, is going to burn right to the wall of our house, and they' re going to hit it right at the last minute," said homeowner David Jensen.
The U.S. Forest Service has warned the fires may continue to spread.