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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
In pictures: California wildfires

Horse in a pen in Bonita, San Diego, on Tuesday

Parts of southern California have become infernos, after a hot dry summer turned forests into a tinder-box.

Firefighters in Escondido on Tuesday

Firefighters are tackling blazes which have now engulfed 300,000 acres (120,000 hectares).

Firefighters light backfires to try to protect the Bonita neighbourhood of San Diego, on Tuesday

One technique is to light backfires to burn off flammable vegetation and create a break before the wildfire arrives.

The charred remains of a home in Malibu Canyon, Malibu, on Tuesday

But in the wake of the fires, devastation awaits those returning to their homes.

California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, surveying the charred ruins of a Malibu church

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited some of the most affected areas, including this burnt church in Malibu.

Wildfires raging to the east of the town of Irvine

The fires have been fanned by fierce desert winds and have forced evacuations from Malibu to San Diego.

Homes in flames at the Valley Oaks mobile home park

At least 100 homes were destroyed by fire near Fallbrook, whipped up by 100mph (160 km/h) winds.

Firefighters mop-up damage at an expensive beach-front home in Malibu

About 1,000 firefighters were called to the blaze at Malibu, home to many wealthy celebrities.

A tanker drops fire retardant on the Sedgwick Reserve fire in Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara County

Air crews have been called in to dump water and fire retardant in forests across the state.

The burned remains of a car on Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

It has been a bad year for wildfires, with blazes cutting across large swathes of the western US, from northern Washington state all the way south to New Mexico.





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