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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 10:05 GMT
In pictures: California blazes
A firefighting plane drops flame retardant onto a roadside fire near the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, California
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At least 20 people have died as fires have swept across southern California, destroying more than 2,000 homes and scorching at least 246,400 hectares (616,000 acres) of land.
Emergency workers watch a backfire set to an approaching fire in Alpine, California
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One of the dead was a firefighter who was overcome while battling a blaze in the resort town of Julian; reinforcements have been sent to aid the 13,000 already deployed.
Firefighters set backfires to protect historic buildings at Mentryville historic town in Santa Clarita in Los Angeles Country
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Here a firefighter in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County, lights a back blaze in an attempt to halt fires from spreading to the nearby historic town of Mentryville.
Fireman sprays foam onto a historic building in Mentryville, California
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Firefighters then sprayed foam on the town's historic buildings - the tactic worked and the buildings were saved.
Firefighters battle in vain to save a house on fire in Lake Arrowhead, California
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Others were not so lucky, here a house in Lake Arrowhead, California is destroyed by flames despite firefighters battling to save it...
Woman and her daughter stand in remains of their home in Waterman Canyon, California
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... and this family also lost their home.
Nine-year-old Leanne Taylor writes a story while a man sleeps on a camp bed at an emergency centre in San Bernardino Airport, San Bernardino County, California
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But those evacuated have tried to maintain normal lives, here a young girl does her schoolwork while a man sleeps on a camp bed at an emergency centre in San Bernardino airport.

California blaze gathers speed
25 Oct 03  |  Americas
Giant trees 'spared from flames'
26 Jul 02  |  Americas

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