Governor visits Napa-Solano fire

June 23, 2008 11:59:01 PM PDT
This year is shaping up to be among the worst fire seasons in nearly 50 years. CAL FIRE says more than 840 wildfires are burning across California.

The governor is asking for help from the federal government and neighboring states. CAL FIRE says wildfires have already burned more than 100,000 acres across the state.

In Northern California alone, flames have destroyed more than 175 homes.

There have been so many fires creating so much smoke, there is now a haze in the Las Vegas area, prompting officials there to issue an air quality advisory.

A barrage of lightning over the weekend in Northern California set more than 700 fires. It sent thousands of firefighters scurrying all over to protect homes.

"We knew that weather system was moving in. So we went ahead and increased our staffing for the week, making sure all of our engines were available, moving some of our resources from the south part of the state where the fire danger wasn't as high, to the north," said CAL FIRE spokesman Daniel Berlant.

The Air National Guard members from Nevada and Oregon have come in to help.

With only enough time to grab the cats and important papers, the Oberholzers had to evacuate twice; once Saturday, when the fire started and again Sunday when the winds kicked up.

"It had completely turned. We had smoke and we could see flames. The fire department came to our door and said you better get out now. And they started throwing ladders on our roof. We decided it was a good time to leave again," said John Olberholzer.

Governor Schwarzenegger changed his schedule around to visit the area. With resources stretched so thin and fire season year-round now, he hopes the Legislature approves his proposal to add a $6 to $12 surcharge to every homeowners policy to beef up statewide emergency response.

"Our idea is to raise the homeowners insurance, and I think everyone will benefit. Even though there are some people who have said, 'Well, I'm not living really where wildfires normally are.' But, there really is no normal anymore," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) California.

PG&E says only 11 homes were without power out around the burned area on Monday night.

CAL FIRE says there were only about 30 homes along this road, and they had the resources to defend each one.

Had the fire raced the other direction toward the 250 homes on Green Valley Road, it might have been a bad situation.

On Tuesday, the Incident Command Team, will pack up and head to an 8,000 acre fire in Colusa County that's out of control with zero containment.

Send us your photos
If you have pictures of this fire or any other fire burning in the Bay Area, we want to hear from you. Send them to photos@kgo-tv.com and we'll feature them on-air and online.

MORE: ABC7's Bay Area wildfire resource guide and safety tips
MAP: Google Reference Map of California Fires
(From the Governor's Office of Emergency Services).


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